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Anonymous CVs ‘don’t work’

Making recruiters accept CVs with no name on them makes it less likely for people of foreign origin to be interviewed

ANONYMOUS CVs have in some respects the opposite effect to that hoped for, according to a study done for the Pôle Emploi.

The results suggest French employers do not in fact discriminate on social or national origins but in fact operate “positive” discrimination, however a sexism and ageism factor was found.

Eight departments of France have been trialling the idea of CVs without personal information like name, address and age, which was supposed to reduce discrimination in recruitment.

However, researchers who investigated the results so far for the Pôle Emploi found that people of foreign origin and those who live in underprivileged areas are less likely to be invited to an interview if their CV contains no name or address.

Normally such candidates have one chance in 10 of getting an interview but this dropped to one in 22 with anonymous CVs. Candidates from other backgrounds normally have a one in eight chance of getting an interview but this increased to one in six with anonymous CVs.

On the other hand a tendency for men to recruit men and women to recruit women and for young people to recruit young people is diminished, the researchers said.

The researchers said the results may be because recruiters make allowances for poor presentation or faults in French if they see a foreign name, while if the person is from a deprived area they may assume this explains poor qualifications or lack of experience.

Firms may also tend towards “positive” discrimination, which is not possible if they know nothing about the candidate’s origins.

The government had asked for a study before possibly rolling anonymous CVs out across France, an idea that was put into a 2006 law but never put into action.

Photo: Gilles Leimdorfer

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