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Asian Last Names Lead To Fewer Job Interviews, Still

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  • Sep 12th, 2017 12:49 pm
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[OP]
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Nov 19, 2014
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“He lit up our model,” said Morey. “Our model said take him with, like, the 15th pick in the draft.” The objective measurement of Jeremy Lin didn’t square with what the experts saw when they watched him play; a not terribly athletic Asian kid. Morey hadn’t completely trusted his model - and so had chickened out and not drafted Lin. A year after the Houston Rockets failed to draft Jeremy Lin, they began to measure the speed of a player’s first two steps: Jeremy Lin had the quickest first move of any player measured. He was explosive and was able to change direction far more quickly than most NBA players. “He’s incredibly athletic,” said Morey. “But the reality is that every **** person, including me, thought he was unathletic. And I can’t think of any reason for it other than he was Asian.”

--Daryl Morey
http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/3033 ... ng-project
I'm At The W, But I Can't Meet You In The Lobby, Girl I Gotta Watch My Back, Cuz I'm Not Just Anybody, I Seen Em' Stand In Line, Just To Get Beside Her, That's When We Disappear, You Need GPS To Find Her, Oh That Was Your Girl? I Thought I Recognized Her."
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Jun 30, 2006
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Every male should just put John Smith on their resume
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One of my coworkers has an Asian last name and didn't change it when she married her husband. She tried applying for jobs for months and couldn't land an interview and could only find volunteer work. When she started using her husbands' last name, which is a common British last name, she got many job interviews and 2nd interviews.

Depending on where you're applying for a job and the industry, there are biases against people with Asian last names because many people do have preconceived stereotypes about Asians because of past experiences - one common one I hear all the time from my coworkers is their prior experience with Asians at post secondary school (i.e. in university most Asian TA's or instructors in the sciences, IT, business or math teaching can't speak English and lack proper language skills to communicate with students). You also have to look at the population of HR departments and headhunters. Many HR departments are made up of a younger population, especially in downtown Toronto. Many HR departments will pass over people with Asian sounding last names for inexperienced workers with vanilla last names.
Jr. Member
Nov 26, 2015
198 posts
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Montréal
onexeyed wrote:
Mar 18th, 2017 8:02 am
One of my coworkers has an Asian last name and didn't change it when she married her husband. She tried applying for jobs for months and couldn't land an interview and could only find volunteer work. When she started using her husbands' last name, which is a common British last name, she got many job interviews and 2nd interviews.

Depending on where you're applying for a job and the industry, there are biases against people with Asian last names because many people do have preconceived stereotypes about Asians because of past experiences - one common one I hear all the time from my coworkers is their prior experience with Asians at post secondary school (i.e. in university most Asian TA's or instructors in the sciences, IT, business or math teaching can't speak English and lack proper language skills to communicate with students). You also have to look at the population of HR departments and headhunters. Many HR departments are made up of a younger population, especially in downtown Toronto. Many HR departments will pass over people with Asian sounding last names for inexperienced workers with vanilla last names.
That's my experience as well. I prefer to use my Chinese last name but I also have a québécois last name because I was adopted. There was a huge difference of number of interviews I got, huge. Now I no longer bother looking for jobs on Indeed or applying online. I just asked some headhunters that I knew before and they would eagerly search for me. The last time it took me around 1 week to organize all the interviews to an offer. This stereotype really needs to go away.
Sr. Member
Jul 25, 2011
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VANCOUVER
Corner3 wrote:
Mar 17th, 2017 1:07 pm
From my experience, the job market in Canada was brutal (especially on the Westcoast). I don't doubt Asian-ness had something to do with it.

Most of the Asians I know in the Vancouver area with business degrees that managed to keep jobs in the city are working real estate jobs (agents, brokers, some are self-employed developers). The others are in retail banks. I know a slim amount working at the Big 4 accounting firms. If we somehow were given the numbers, I'm guessing these accounting firms hire non-Asians at a much higher rate.

We're talking out of the 2 best business schools in B.C. too, UBC Sauder and SFU Beedie. A good percentage of them end up getting discouraged and moving back to Hong Kong.

In B.C., the best corporations to work for seem to be: 1) natural resources; 2) food & hospitality; 3) retail. Both are dominated by white people who very likely didn't go to SFU Beedie.

When you look at the major restaurant chains like Cactus Club or Earl's management core (2 huge employers in BC), unless you're looking in Accounting, you won't find many Asian guys. Same goes for stuff like Lululemon at Management. You might find an Asian guy at Cactus or Lululemon if he's "fabuuuuuuulous"

You'll find tons of white guys, white girls, and Asian girls at every level across departments. Lots of them from Capilano or Langara College.
This is basically me - except I'm in marketing and ended up moving to HK to work with a global company. It was just so much easier to get a great job there.

Top jobs in Vancouver for Chinese People (I have many friends in these jobs): Secretary at Dental Office, Real Estate Agent and Teller at TD/RBC/HSBC.
Newbie
Jan 15, 2017
44 posts
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Stats can be misleading. Types of jobs and volume matter too.

Basketball analogy: I vaguely recall a comparison that showed Lebron has a better overall shooting % than Kevin Durant, but KD has a better shooting % than Lebron at every distance range. I might be getting the players wrong, but the idea is that even if you outperform at every range, you can underperform overall based on volume. LB takes more high percentage short distance shots, and KD takes more long distance low percentage shots. Long story short, averages can be misleading.

That being said, does a bias exist? Probably. We're all guilty of different biases one or another, whether it's race, gender, age, education, work experience, or even hobbies. We use all of our biases when we look at resume. I see someone without recent employment history for 2 years, I ask myself if there is a reason this person has been unemployed for so long. I see someone with 3 jobs in 2 years, I wonder if they are bad at commitment. I see an applicant who 15-20 years older than the rest of our team, I wonder if they will fit in. I see someone walking into an interview that looks like they're at the beginning of the pregnancy cycle, I will wonder if they will be around in 4 months. None of these assumptions are "fair" to the candidate, some are not even legal, but they all make up part of our decision making process. We rely on our experiences to judge. It's not always correct, but what else are you going to do?

I'm not a fan of these studies because even if I agree with the conclusion, what am I to do with that information? I'm not interested in feeling under-privileged or blaming my failures on society's biases. We've known for years that men are paid better than women, does that knowledge induce societal change? Is that supposed to be comforting to women that other women are also paid less? Some things are just always going to be out of our control. Are you going to throw in the towel and say "the world is stacked against me, woe is me"? We are each fortunate in many ways, born with natural advantages. Why focus on what may disadvantage us? Yes, nepotism exists. Yes, racism remains. Yes, prejudice exists. No, the world will never be fair. Yet, I would still say that North American remains one of the more meritocratic places to work.
[OP]
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Nov 19, 2014
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One of my coworkers has an Asian last name and didn't change it when she married her husband. She tried applying for jobs for months and couldn't land an interview and could only find volunteer work. When she started using her husbands' last name, which is a common British last name, she got many job interviews and 2nd interviews.
There's another issue no one likes to talk about. In Canada, if females marry white males, they gain clear economic and social advantages. If a female marries a South Asian or East Asian guy, and they take their surnames, then screw them right? But "multiculturalism" right?
This is basically me - except I'm in marketing and ended up moving to HK to work with a global company. It was just so much easier to get a great job there.

Top jobs in Vancouver for Chinese People (I have many friends in these jobs): Secretary at Dental Office, Real Estate Agent and Teller at TD/RBC/HSBC.
It seems companies only hire Asians if their race favours them, such as in the Real Estate industry. If it's any other job, it's unlikely to happen. I know lots of qualified Accounting graduates out of good schools that don't land jobs. And they're not any "weirder" or "socially awkward" than the non-Asian ones that just happen to land jobs.

For a province with such a huge Asian population, they are pretty weak politically. Even the Asian law associations in BC need support from the Asian-American ones. Which is ironic, because a lot of them like to fool themselves into believe their JDs are better since they have slightly fewer law schools per capita (the Canadian inferiority complex). Yet they have to ask Asian-American law orgs for support. So there's really not much out there looking out for Asian interests or to lobby the legislature.

In the U.S. there are clear diversity initiatives because companies acknowledge this happens. So there are initiatives in place to make sure that Fortune 500 company aren't excluding all the "Zhangs" and "Chadhas" that come across their desk.
I'm At The W, But I Can't Meet You In The Lobby, Girl I Gotta Watch My Back, Cuz I'm Not Just Anybody, I Seen Em' Stand In Line, Just To Get Beside Her, That's When We Disappear, You Need GPS To Find Her, Oh That Was Your Girl? I Thought I Recognized Her."
Jr. Member
Mar 8, 2015
199 posts
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DumbAlpha wrote:
Mar 18th, 2017 2:52 pm
Stats can be misleading. Types of jobs and volume matter too.

Basketball analogy: I vaguely recall a comparison that showed Lebron has a better overall shooting % than Kevin Durant, but KD has a better shooting % than Lebron at every distance range. I might be getting the players wrong, but the idea is that even if you outperform at every range, you can underperform overall based on volume. LB takes more high percentage short distance shots, and KD takes more long distance low percentage shots. Long story short, averages can be misleading.

That being said, does a bias exist? Probably. We're all guilty of different biases one or another, whether it's race, gender, age, education, work experience, or even hobbies. We use all of our biases when we look at resume. I see someone without recent employment history for 2 years, I ask myself if there is a reason this person has been unemployed for so long. I see someone with 3 jobs in 2 years, I wonder if they are bad at commitment. I see an applicant who 15-20 years older than the rest of our team, I wonder if they will fit in. I see someone walking into an interview that looks like they're at the beginning of the pregnancy cycle, I will wonder if they will be around in 4 months. None of these assumptions are "fair" to the candidate, some are not even legal, but they all make up part of our decision making process. We rely on our experiences to judge. It's not always correct, but what else are you going to do?

I'm not a fan of these studies because even if I agree with the conclusion, what am I to do with that information? I'm not interested in feeling under-privileged or blaming my failures on society's biases. We've known for years that men are paid better than women, does that knowledge induce societal change? Is that supposed to be comforting to women that other women are also paid less? Some things are just always going to be out of our control. Are you going to throw in the towel and say "the world is stacked against me, woe is me"? We are each fortunate in many ways, born with natural advantages. Why focus on what may disadvantage us? Yes, nepotism exists. Yes, racism remains. Yes, prejudice exists. No, the world will never be fair. Yet, I would still say that North American remains one of the more meritocratic places to work.
Far and away the best response yet.....Also it's hard to make a case for biases against Asians, i'm going to get flamed for saying this but out of all visible minorities I think Asians have been the most successful in terms of financials gain and career wise. The bias exists of course and we're far from perfect, but we (at least Chinese) have it better than other minorities. From what I have seen, the only Asians that had trouble landing a "good" job were FOBs who made next to no effort to improve their English, if you can't communicate (both written and verbally) in an English-first country, how the hell are you going to make it?? On the flip side, the FOBs I know of who were successful here career wise had one thing in common: they worked on their English and weren't scared to socialize and communicate with White people......you can adapt to a culture without throwing out your own, it's not that hard...you gotta adapt to your surroundings people, especially if you immigrate to somewhere. I realize that developed Asian nations are better about accommodating native English speaker than we are with Chinese-speakers but you need to remember most of the business world is conducted in English...though that could one day change to Mandarin.

And to the person who posted about "top jobs in Vancouver for Chinese people," Dental secretary and tellers??? Really??? I don't believe that at all, I have a number of Chinese friends who are pharmacists or at least above branch level in a bank...i know for a fact our commercial analysts department at my bank is probably 1/3 Chinese. Sorry, but you're either referring to a really small sample size or your friends are horrible at communicating during a job search process.
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May 31, 2017
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I apologize in advance if the message isn't coherent, it's been a while since I last wrote something I tried to be serious about.

Being Asian, I can definitely say that there is a huge problem with Asians being sociable, this goes to cbc's as well. Even though someone can be born here, that doesn't necessarily equate to them being fully adapted to Canadian culture - at least in my opinion. I've seen many fobs come here in their teens and be fully adapted with a controlled or minimal accent within 5 years, but in the same time I've seen people who were born here but still speak with a noticeable accent as well as an obvious disconnect with Canadian culture. I'm not saying that everyone has to BE Canadian, however to be able to be competitive in an interview process I believe that a major factor in doing well in it is if the interviewer sees you as someone that can blend in with others or at the very least, not be an odd ball. That being said, this has worked to my advantage, being in a very multicultural place and not having spent much time with other Asians when I came here, gave me an edge when interviewing against other Asians - since I can emulate a favourable personality and more competitive with other races because of stereo types (this is half a joke since I don't really know if interviewers go by this). I was able to learn how other cultures socialize and mimic it until it became second nature, to be able to study is something I think Asians born in Asia are great at because it's what our culture dictates we must be able to do in order to succeed, however to be able to imitate is something that we are not very good at doing since we were taught to study and succeed by ourselves (at least from my experience).

I understand the topic is on "getting interviews" and for this, I wonder why people haven't just changed or adopted a different name. I had a class mate in high school whose name was Mohammed and changed it. When I asked why, he says it's to be able to get better job prospects in the future as starting early will allow him to apply for things like drivers licenses and credit cards with his new name with greater ease. He went from Mohammed to Omid or something like that with an obvious Muslim last name so I don't really know if that made much of a difference although I hope he's doing well. I also have a lot of friends who have Chinese legal names but go with an English first name instead as explaining that their real name is Yang Bou and that they went with an English name on their resume instead for the sake of pronunciation is apparently a lot easier than applying with said name and have their chances diminish for the recruiter's fear of their inability or lack of in speaking English.

Finally, I feel that it is very important to reiterate and consider that while this may be true on an across the board circumstance, many of the older generation Asians, Indians, etc. are in the back offices which I think this survey sampled since the kids who came off the boat 10+ years ago are just maturing and getting out of school now (my generation). For the older generation of workers this survey I'm sure is very accurate instance; our IT department is mostly Indian, a lot of accounting firms - also mostly Indian, dentistry coincides with being Korean, pharmacists have a lot of Muslims, a lot of programmers I've met were Chinese or Indian and so on. While that was a number of fields and different professions (and had a lot of stereo types), if you're in the GTA you probably would have noticed at least one or two of the mentioned jobs and people in them to be common, however still for the most part in the back office or require very little human interaction. This allows them to stay in a space in which they can be comfortable in since many others from their culture have joined that industry. I don't see this as a bad thing but I think should be something that a lot of people should think about when trying to get an explanation out of seeing something like this.

On a side note - I thought a lot of Vancouver HK people/international students were super rich and just studied in Canada for the sake of getting a foreign piece of paper, didn't know they actually came here to live. Most of the Hk people I know have no care for the world, they're smart and rich so it seemed like they had no need for a "real" job because they were just gonna open a company or take over their parents company hahah.
[OP]
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http://www.cnn.com/2017/08/31/entertain ... index.html
Chloe Bennet on name change: 'Hollywood is racist'

"Changing my last name doesn't change the fact that my BLOOD is half Chinese, that I lived in China, speak Mandarin or that I was culturally raised both American and Chinese," she wrote. "It means I had to pay my rent, and Hollywood is racist and wouldn't cast me with a last name that made them uncomfortable."
Related: Beyond 'nerds' and 'ninjas,' slow progress for Asian actors in Hollywood
The comment came after Bennet, who started out in the business as "Chloe Wang," posted a statement from actor Ed Skrein in which he announced he stepped down from a role in the upcoming "Hellboy" because he felt he would be "whitewashing" a character of Asian descent.
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I'm At The W, But I Can't Meet You In The Lobby, Girl I Gotta Watch My Back, Cuz I'm Not Just Anybody, I Seen Em' Stand In Line, Just To Get Beside Her, That's When We Disappear, You Need GPS To Find Her, Oh That Was Your Girl? I Thought I Recognized Her."
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Dec 1, 2006
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Corner3 wrote:
Mar 17th, 2017 1:07 pm
From my experience, the job market in Canada was brutal (especially on the Westcoast). I don't doubt Asian-ness had something to do with it.

Most of the Asians I know in the Vancouver area with business degrees that managed to keep jobs in the city are working real estate jobs (agents, brokers, some are self-employed developers). The others are in retail banks. I know a slim amount working at the Big 4 accounting firms. If we somehow were given the numbers, I'm guessing these accounting firms hire non-Asians at a much higher rate.

We're talking out of the 2 best business schools in B.C. too, UBC Sauder and SFU Beedie. A good percentage of them end up getting discouraged and moving back to Hong Kong.

In B.C., the best corporations to work for seem to be: 1) natural resources; 2) food & hospitality; 3) retail. Both are dominated by white people who very likely didn't go to SFU Beedie.

When you look at the major restaurant chains like Cactus Club or Earl's management core (2 huge employers in BC), unless you're looking in Accounting, you won't find many Asian guys. Same goes for stuff like Lululemon at Management. You might find an Asian guy at Cactus or Lululemon if he's "fabuuuuuuulous"

You'll find tons of white guys, white girls, and Asian girls at every level across departments. Lots of them from Capilano or Langara College.
Yeah, there's a lot of truth to this.

Most of Sauder/Beedie is made up of Asians. But then recruiting rolls around and you'll see the demographic of those that get hired doesn't reflect the demographic of the graduating class.

I get it. A Big 4 firm doesn't want all of its staff be Asian. But it does leave a bitter taste in your mouth when you know you gotta bust your ass harder than everybody else to get to the same spot, just because you're Asian. And even then, some doors (upper management) may be closed to you.

Even more infuriating is when they do hire an Asian, they will be more likely to pick an Asian girl. Gendered racism.
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Oct 16, 2013
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fingroll wrote:
Sep 3rd, 2017 12:18 am
Yeah, there's a lot of truth to this.

Most of Sauder/Beedie is made up of Asians. But then recruiting rolls around and you'll see the demographic of those that get hired doesn't reflect the demographic of the graduating class.

I get it. A Big 4 firm doesn't want all of its staff be Asian. But it does leave a bitter taste in your mouth when you know you gotta bust your ass harder than everybody else to get to the same spot, just because you're Asian. And even then, some doors (upper management) may be closed to you.

Even more infuriating is when they do hire an Asian, they will be more likely to pick an Asian girl. Gendered racism.
I believe all races experience this at different degrees.
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fingroll wrote:
Sep 3rd, 2017 12:18 am
Even more infuriating is when they do hire an Asian, they will be more likely to pick an Asian girl. Gendered racism.
It's not gendered racism. They are just trying to tick more diversity boxes to satisfy HR. They need certain amounts of female, disabled, minority, first nations, etc.
Being a disabled, female, minority is like demographic gold for political correctness quotas in HR land as you fill the quotas with greatest efficiency.
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