Several places that I have applied have asked that I fill out a "voluntary" form or postcard identifying my race, age and gender (one even asked my sexual orientation). In each case I have been assured that this information will not be in any way connected to my application material; however, most cards have an id number and one had my name on it. Is this normal?
Date: 25 Oct 2010 01:48
Number of posts: 5
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Outside of the name on it, it's normal, the id number associates information for a specific job, not applicant (in theory anyways…) fill out the things you're comfortable with them knowing and leave the ones you feel are too personal blank. (sexual orientation is a new one to me)
The whole purpose is to track the department's ability to attract minority applicants. It also can indicate if a department has some systematic biases - for example if they frequently have a lot of women or minority applicants but are never bringing any for interviews. Those usually don't go back to the department - the usually go to the university's personel department.
Anon Again is correct; those cards usually go directly to the university's diversity officers, and there is no interest in connecting them with individuals. Our university used to routinely send out those cards. We stopped doing so this year because the response rate was so low as to be uninformative.