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Tech Industry

HP uses dads to expose gender bias in interviews

Commentary: As part of its Reinvent Mindsets campaign, HP asks dads to read generic interview tips for women found online ... with their daughters sitting next to them.

 Technically Incorrect offers a slightly twisted take on the tech that's taken over our lives.


Recognition of his own biases?

HP/YouTube screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

Some biases are unconscious. 

Some, however, are enforced with the sure intention of preserving some twisted status quo.

When it comes to the way women can be treated in job interviews, the biases can be overwhelming, even if the interviewer might claim there's nothing there.

The male-dominated, world-changing tech industry isn't immune from bias against women. Read this special report or just watch an episode of "Silicon Valley."

So HP, as part of its "Reinvent Mindsets" campaign, thought it would try something special to coincide with Father's Day. 

It sat dads and their daughters down together and asked the dads to read some of the job interview advice that's peddled to women on the internet.

Samples: "Don't wear too much makeup" and "don't be aggressive in trying to negotiate your salary." Then there's "don't look too hot."


The dads and daughters proceed to have a chat about such advice. One daughter explains that the advice "don't be too chatty" applies to him more than her. Naturally, he gets defensive. (Advice to men for conversation about gender bias: Don't get defensive.)

And how about: "Avoid dressing too much like a woman"? No one ever suggested "avoid dressing too much like a man," on daughter points out. The dad laughs nervously. I suspect his unconscious biases just regained consciousness. 

It's hard not to avoid the impression that at least some of these dads recognized the biases they were discussing in themselves. The edit here doesn't make them look like bad dads, because this is advertising. Bad dads are reserved for sitcoms.

Naturally, there's a bit of hard sell at the end about how HP is training its hiring managers to cut out the unconscious (or otherwise) biases against women. 

That may take some time. I'm thinking decades. 

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