His name is José Zamora, and he had a routine.
During his months-long job search, he says he logged onto his computer every morning and combed the internet for listings, applying to everything he felt qualified for. In the Buzzfeed video above, he estimates that he sent out between 50 to 100 resumes a day — which is, in a word, impressive.
But Zamora said he wasn’t getting any responses, so on a hunch, he decided to drop the “s” in his name. José Zamora became Joe Zamora, and a week later, he says his inbox was full.
As he explains in the video, “Joe” hadn’t changed anything on his resume but that one letter. But what Zamora had done, effectively, was whitewash it.
Although digital job applications would seem to be the ultimate exercise in colorblind hiring, numerous studies and applicants have found the opposite. Employers consciously or subconsciously discriminate against names that sound black or Latino, as reported by the New York Times. One much-cited study found that applicants with white-sounding names received 50 percent more callbacks than applicants with black-sounding names, a significant disparity.
“I had to drop a letter to get a title,” Zamora said, later adding, “Sometimes I don’t even think people know or are conscious or aware that they’re judging — even if it’s by name — but I think we all do it all the time.”