I just read an article that had a good go at explaining why Silicon Valley firms are filled with white middle class males that managed to actually do what it set out to do when it explained why it wanted to take a more reasoned approach. They boil it down to everyone having an in-built bias - not necessarily a good or bad thing, it is just how humans operate. The article then comes up with a very useful experiment:
When selecting from resumes for interview, have the names, age, sex, and origin of the candidates blanked out.
The author found that his resulting selections for interview were a lot different to what he had before.
He goes on to discuss how orchestras changed from being all male affairs to the current mix of genders by them adopting a selection process where candidates played unseen, behind a screen, and where selected based on how well they played.
This got me wondering about the current controversy about Oxbridge admissions. Maybe the universities should adopt similar schemes, candidates should be lead to a separate room, unseen, where voice changers would mask ethnicity and accent, The interview would be audio only and taped, with the selection panel in a separate room. After the interview, the candidate should be given a copy of the tape, and another copy kept for independent review. The idea would be to make the process a better meritocracy rather than the obvious selection of "people like me" that goes on at the moment.
Oh, here's the link to the original article.
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