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Hiring Strategies, Racial Bias, and Inner-City Workers

Kathryn M. Neckerman and Joleen Kirschenman
Social Problems
Vol. 38, No. 4, Special Issue on the Underclass in the United States (Nov., 1991), pp. 433-447
DOI: 10.2307/800563
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/800563
Page Count: 15
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Hiring Strategies, Racial Bias, and Inner-City Workers
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Abstract

This article explores the ways employers' hiring strategies affect the employment chances of inner-city blacks, using a recent survey of 185 Chicago-area firms. The authors find that employers commonly direct recruitment efforts to white neighborhoods and avoid recruitment sources that bring them a disproportionately inner-city black labor force; when they do draw applicants from poor black neighborhoods, they tend to use labor market intermediaries to recruit workers. There is also evidence that inner-city blacks often do poorly in job interviews in part because they lack the work experience that is so often a focal point of the interview, and in part because of race and class related differences in culture. Finally, there is preliminary evidence that skills testing is associated with higher proportions of black workers in entry-level jobs, suggesting that more objective means of screening prospective employees provide less latitude for racial bias. Racial bias appears to occur as employers search for productive workers and could be reduced by developing more effective ways for job applicants to demonstrate their skills.

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