Rudolph: A Story About Implicit Bias In Hiring

Posted December 28, 2018 by Mary McGinley

Not everyone would think of the favorite holiday tale of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer as being a tale illustrating implicit bias. Somehow, however, Verrill Dana writing managed to show just why it works it might be a rather fitting example written for JD

Like Rudolph who was laughed at, called names and excluded from reindeer games, implicit bias can clearly be seen. As important as it is to be aware of the potential of implicit, if even unconscious biases, the problem is that it isn’t always easy to spot.

The National Bureau of Economic Research conducted research which showed that job applicants who had a white-sounding name were far more likely to receive callbacks from potential employers than those with names that sounded African American. This, along with gender, marital status, age, or even manner of dress, accent, height or build can work either for or against an applicant.

In order to help combat this problem, Project Implicit developed a number of tests to help assess the potential toward implicit bias, giving managers and their organizations a starting point to determine whether implicit biases are present and a point where to address the issue.