Fosterly is putting 'blind hiring' to the test with its intern placement program - Technical.ly DC

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Jan. 10, 2017 7:37 am

Fosterly is putting ‘blind hiring’ to the test with its intern placement program

The organization is hoping to assuage some of the gender and race bias embedded in the hiring process. How? Anonymity.

At a Fosterly Study Hall in August 2015.

(Courtesy photo)

Fosterly launched its spring 2017 Intern Match program on Monday, with a diversity-positive twist this time.

D.C.-based startups and creative companies that sign on to participate in the program will receive college intern application information with a reference number assigned to each applicant and no identifying personal information. This, Fosterly hopes, will assuage some of the gender and race bias that exists in the hiring process by allowing companies to make decisions on who they’d like to reach out to based solely on the merit of the given resume.

This is the first time Fosterly has experimented with blind matching. (The Times took a long look at the advantages of the hiring practice in a feature last year.)

Founder Adam Zuckerman told Technical.ly the move wasn’t predicated by any community backlash or uproar following last year’s program. Rather, “we’re always trying to find new things to help the community out and be as inclusive as possible.” And so, following studies showing that show how the gender bias affects women who code, Zuckerman thought “let’s just shake it up a bit.”

Zuckerman said Fosterly will be able to track how many (and which) intern applicants get reached out to, and will be curious to see whether the blind process has any impact on those stats.

College students looking for internships and organizations looking to hire those interns have from now until Feb. 17 to “onboard.” Then the collected data will be shared with organizations who pay a $99 fee to help support Fosterly’s work in D.C. (that Startup Census, for example). A week later the data will be shared with all organizations — the whole application and matching process is free for students.

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Participating schools include George Mason, Georgetown, George Washington, the University of Maryland and Virginia Tech, but Zuckerman said that students from other schools who wish to apply should encourage their university’s career services office to get in touch.

Are you a startup looking for interns? Or, are you a college student looking for an internship? This one’s for you (all) — apply here.

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Tajha Chappellet-Lanier

Tajha Chappellet-Lanier was the lead reporter for Technical.ly DC. The California native previously worked for NPR and the editorial board at USA Today. She can talk travel plans all day, and has strong opinions on the best doughnut in D.C.

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