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LinkedIn user's ‘social experiment’ uncovers implicit bias in recruitment process


By Bennett Bennett, Staff writer

August 2, 2018 | 4 min read

A marketer has accused LinkedIn of fostering an environment that can subject people of color to implicit bias from industry recruiters.


LinkedIn has been called out by one of its users over signs the platform fosters ethnic bias from recruiters

Kameshia Washington, an on-contract ‘marketing and project manager’ according to her LinkedIn profile, conducted a ‘social experiment’ to see how recruiters would react to her profile and skills.

A Facebook post she published on the ‘NYC Ad Jobs and Networking’ page said: “Over the past three weeks I’ve been conducting a social experiment where I created a fake LinkedIn using my fiancé’s photo (he is white) but copied over the exact same information from my LinkedIn profile to this “dummy” account."

Washington v Linkedin

She added that she proceeded to change the name on the resume and apply for the same job through both profiles.

“While my real profile only received four follow-ups on the 30 applications (1.3%) I applied to via my LinkedIn profile,” she continued, “the fake account with my fiancé’s photo received 21 out of 30 (follow-ups with requests to interview! Keep in mind I used the exact same resume and LinkedIn info —I just changed the names and photos."

Washington took to Twitter to suggest LinkedIn chief Reed Hoffman handle the matter, by removing profile photos from LinkedIn.

She told the group that she had reached out to LinkedIn and to the recruiters in question, with the analytics she found from her experiment.

The Drum also reached out to LinkedIn, which offered this statement: “Employment discrimination is not tolerated on LinkedIn and is something we take very seriously. We are in touch with the member to learn more about her experience, so that we can continue to deliver a platform where every member can have access to opportunity – no matter their race or gender.”

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