Discriminating Against Candidates Via Zipcodes

A few weeks ago we had an interesting conversation with a talent acquisition leader who was helping a local homeless shelter. She was trying to get people back into the workforce. However, many of them were facing problems when applying to jobs.

First off, some of these people didn’t have a permanent address. Since most job postings through an ATS require an address to apply, that is a big problem.

Secondly, the people who did have an address many times had listed different shelters or half way homes as their place of residence. And, these people were being discriminated against on that basis vs their actual skills and aptitude.

Broader Problem

Beyond the homeless population, discriminating candidates based on address is a concern in general. It’s very easy to lookup someone’s home to see if it’s owned/rented, and for how much. It’s so easy you can fit it into the 6 seconds you spend per resume!

There’s also the problem of remote work, or candidates who are actively trying to move from one city to another. Is an address really relevant here?

Get Rid of Addresses?

It seems like it’s time to get rid of the address altogether when it comes to job applicants. It would be surprising if this weren’t a hold over from a pre-digital world.

There is some merit to understanding the full context about a candidate, and the SAT will now include an adversity score that is closely linked to where people grew up. However, this score is meant to give those who have faced adversity credit, as opposed to the job applicant’s address which is almost exclusively used as a disqualifier.

We’re very curious what people think about this issue. Is there a reason to keep the address in the application? Or should we do away with this altogether? What ATS’s have moved past this and don’t require addresses to apply?

Phil Strazzulla

Phil Strazzulla

Founder at NextWave Hire
Phil is a founder of NextWave Hire.Previously, he was a VC at Bessemer.Phil is a self taught programmer and business nerd who studied at NYU and Harvard Business School.
Phil Strazzulla