Ever wonder why you never get picked for a good job? Hell, you've got all the requirements they need and you've got sex appeal. What's going wrong?
These are all questions we've been asking ourselves lately, and it turns out that, tired of the same old prejudices from previous generations, businesses are getting creative in their discrimination.
#6. By Your Handwriting
In this modern day and age, you would think that handwriting has become irrelevant in the workplace. Who cares if you dot your I's with love hearts? Who cares if you turn every "A" into a miniature penis? You've got a computer, and as long as you don't file all your business reports in Wingdings, then you should be fine, right?
Why does this exist?
Wrong. You may have a long list of degrees, experience in the industry and a reference from the president himself, but that might all count for squat if you work for one of the many companies around the world (including 3,000 in the UK alone) who hire graphologists.
According to those who study graphology, the way you write could indicate anything from your ability to solve problems in a group, to your likelihood of murdering your neighbor. According to science, this is not even close to true.
But hey, who listens to those nerds anyway.
None of this has stopped believers from making incredibly important decisions based on handwriting analysis. If you think the company you work for would never do such a thing, keep in mind that they don't even need to let you know they're doing it, and because they probably know how crazy it sounds, they often don't.
The amount of information they think they can get on you from your handwriting is astounding. Hell, some graphologists even advertise the ability to catch cheating spouses. That's right, you can pay someone a ridiculous amount of money to analyze that sexually explicit note your girlfriend wrote to the gardener, and they'll tell you whether the way she crosses her T's indicates unfaithful tendencies.
From top to bottom: rapist, car salesman, Hitler.
Graphologists claim to have near foolproof methods to determine who's an alcoholic, who will be violent, who will steal and, in one especially bizarre case, a graphologist actually offered to identify potential child molesters working within the school simply by studying writing samples.
Add that to your cheat-sheet for a successful job interview: dress neatly, do your research and for Christ sakes make sure your handwriting isn't too rapey.
"Your shopping list gave you away. Seriously, 'baby oil'?"
#5. By Personality Type (as Determined by Myers-Briggs)
It makes perfect sense to want to know the personality of the guy you're about to hire. You want to know if a potential employee is entirely self-centered, has no concept of responsibility and believes the word "sexist" is just a bizarre way women mispronounce "right." However, some employers are deciding who to hire and kick to the curb based on a personality test. Yep, just like the ones you've seen in the pages of "Cosmo."
The gloves, axe and manic grin say, he's a tiger in the sack-er, we mean, team player.
The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator is one of the more common personality tests in the field. It's a multiple-choice test filled with a bunch of personal questions ("When making a decision, is it more important to you to weigh the facts or consider people's feelings and opinions?") that as many as 30 percent of American companies are using it to screen employees.
Oh, and it doesn't work at all. In one particular study, it was found that around 50 percent of those who take the test more than once get assigned a different personality type every time. While it's possible that this means there are as many multiple-personality sufferers out there as Hollywood would like you to believe, it's much more likely that these tests are about as reliable as tea leaves.
At least psychics don't make you mess around with scantrons.
And there's no telling what kind of outlandish questions assessors may put on your test. The respected personality testing firms claim to rely on proven scientific methods (you know, the science of turning complex human beings into graphs and Venn diagrams). And even they admit that the business is mostly unregulated.
That means that one second you could be asked a vague question relating to your views and opinions on kittens wearing hats and the next, BAM! You're tagged as a potential rapist and end up writing comedy on the Internet instead.
"Sorry Jim, but your answer on the Kitten Test makes us feel you're a bit too murder-prone for this company. Best of luck in your future endeavors, though."
#4. By Your Accent
This is one you won't find written down in an official policy, and it may not be intentional discrimination at all. But across America, people are constantly being hired by employers based on their regional accents. Not sure what we mean? Well, ask yourself if you'd feel just a little less confident if you were about to have brain surgery, and heard your surgeon talking like one of the cast of Jersey Shore, or maybe like somebody from the hills of Kentucky. Yes, on an intellectual level you know that talent and intelligence have nothing to do with geography. But stereotypes die hard.
These men are doctoral candidates at Duke University.
That's why in a study done by the University of North Texas, people with Californian and Minnesotan accents were considered by far the most intelligent speakers, while people from Georgia and New Jersey were considered the least intelligent, despite the fact that all speakers were required to speak the same lines.
God help you if you're from New Jersey - they rank the lowest in all categories except one: they're perceived as exceptionally laid back. There's pretty much no occupation in the universe for which that counts as a plus. In business lingo, "Laid Back" is one unkempt beard away from "Laid Off."
Edelstein, Associates will not hire this man.
The university took this study so seriously that it actually hired a non-Texan to record their voicemail so they could sound smarter, because when a Texan asks you to leave your name and number, all that an outsider hears is a rant about guns and gay marriage.
This was the ONLY Photos.com result for "Texan."
Likewise, the above study mentions a case where a woman was congratulated by coworkers for sounding smarter during a presentation after she altered her accent, as if ordinarily they could only picture her in a cowgirl costume, talking about business trends from atop a mechanical bull.