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Stereotyping Resumes Screening Applicants Job Applicants Incompetence Decision Making Creativity

We received a resume from an applicant whose background looks good for an entry level marketing position with our company. My concern is that she uses a very babyish nickname on her resume and cover letter. I think this is a sign of immaturity. Do you agree?

It could actually be argued that eliminating a seemingly satisfactory candidate on the basis of a nickname is a sign of immaturity. Making a judgment about a person strictly on this basis is a sign of stereotyping and snap judgments. It is even possible that this nickname has an ethnic origin, and you may be inadvertently wandering into an EEO issue.

It is also interesting to look at what happens if your assumption is correct and this individual is actually immature. The real question is whether that is such a bad thing. Some companies have found that a little immaturity can lead to a healthy measure of creativity and innovative thinking.

The best way to determine if an individual is qualified for a position in your company is to look carefully at his or her work history. You said this applicant’s background looks good for your entry level position, and that alone should be enough for you to take the next step with her, such as by conducting a preliminary telephone interview.

In such an interview, as in all other pre-employee communications, your questions should be job-related. And there is one line of questioning for you to specifically avoid, namely any questions about her nickname.

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