Companies are still too personal in recruiting

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Companies are still too personal in recruiting

Nearly nine out of 10 Korean companies still require job applicants to submit personal information like age, alma mater or photo, according to a local survey.

These are all data that the current government wants excluded from the hiring process to avoid “prejudice and unnecessary discrimination” by companies when choosing candidates. The government has suggested “blind recruiting” that focuses on job-related experience.

Saramin, a job search website, published survey results that asked human resources managers of 397 local companies whether they asked for personal information in the recruiting process. Among them, 339 companies, or 85 percent, said yes.

It’s been two years since the current administration started pushing “blind recruiting,” introducing the practice in public service and state-owned companies. Friday’s survey results show that, in the private sector, there’s still a long way to go.

The most frequently asked question was an applicant’s age. Seventy-nine percent among those 339 companies asked for this information. What school they graduated from (65.8 percent) and a profile photo (64.9 percent) followed second and third place. Multiple answers were allowed.

Other answers included marital status (32.2 percent) and religion (9.1 percent). Some companies even required information on the status of family members (9.7 percent) while a smaller group asked for physical measurements like height (8.6 percent) and weight (7.1 percent).

Forty percent of the 339 companies said they penalized candidates who did not answer questions on forms. Half said they did so because they believed the candidate lacked sincerity.

Thirty-five percent said they wanted to be fair to applicants who did answer the questions while 27 percent said the information was considered in the hiring process. Some 16.8 percent said leaving the questions empty gave them the impression that the candidate was trying to deliberately hide weaknesses. Multiple answers were allowed.

Application forms that ask for personal information will be banned by law soon. A bill that promotes fair recruiting passed the National Assembly last March and is waiting for implementation. After it takes effect, companies that ask applicants about their families, place of birth, physical features, marital status or assets will be fined 5 million won ($4,220) or under.

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