Skip to content
Personal Growth

The Sad Difference Between “José” and “Joe” on a Job Application

A job applicant in Los Angeles decided to experiment with using a “whiter” name on his résumé. Doing so elicited interviews with companies that had previously ignored him.

Anyone who purports that race isn’t an issue in modern America should look into the story of José Zamora of Hollywood, California. José is the subject of a video posted this week (embedded below) by Buzzfeed Yellow. His testimony about job hunting reveals a disappointing truth about discriminatory hiring practices:

After a long, unfruitful, job search, José decided to see what dropping the “s” from his name would do for his career prospects:

“The Monday I decided to go from José to Joe, seven days later [on] the next Monday, that’s when all the responses started coming.”

He explains that the very same employers who had ignored him when he was José were now jumping at the opportunity to hire “Joe.” He had the exact same résumé as before, save for the first name.

Multiple studies have been conducted to prove how what José went through isn’t just an anomaly. A 2002 University of Chicago study showed that white-sounding names like Emily Walsh or Brendan Baker were 50% more likely to get responses from prospective employers than black-sounding names like Lakisha Washington or Jamal Jones. Such discrimination is illegal yet is incredibly hard to prove.

If you’re a hiring manager, be sure to always be cognizant of your subconscious biases. Have you ever caught yourself discriminating against certain types of applicants?

Job searchers, have you ever had an experience similar to José’s?

Let us know in the comments.

Watch the Video on Buzzfeed Yellow’s YouTube Channel

Photo credit: alphaspirit / Shutterstock


Up Next