Came across this video today on a site that presented it with the headline of "Black Woman Pretends to Be White, Job Offers Skyrocket"
Alternate headline for this story could just as easily be something like "Woman discovers sort order affects job opportunities" with a sub-caption of "Job hunters on Monster.com having first names beginning with letters near the beginning of the alphabet have an unfair advantage over people with first names beginning with letters near the end of the alphabet."
With 4 very screamingly obvious differences in variables in the 2 accounts she created (race, first name, last name, email address), perhaps even more, the woman and the guy presenting this story, both choose to believe there was only one variable difference, ignoring the rest, and jumping to illogical conclusions, assuming it's the most unlikely of the 4 (or more) variables that caused the difference in the number of job offers, and never thought even for a second that it was all to do with some much simpler and more plausible reason, like type of default alphabetical sort order.
What is even more amazing is that so far, nobody (besides me) pointed out this obvious error in thinking, in either the comments on the story or on Youtube. Perhaps the other variables would have instantly leaped out at everyone like it did for me, if they had some sort of programming classes while growing up and were trained to think with that sort of logic that programmers do.
Employers and recruiters were never shown the race answer, it doesn't appear on anyone's profile, so there would be no reason to believe that race had anything to do with it. She did however choose a first name beginning with B for the fake "white" account, while her real account had a first name beginning with Y. If a default sort order that employers and recruiters are seeing does so by first name, it would explain the big difference. Their jobs are likely filled long before they ever get to the Ys on the list, especially if there are thousands in that list. Even if you change the race on the real account, "Bianca" (the name on the fake "white" account) would still come way before "Yolanda" (the name on the real account).
The same could happen if the default sort order is based on email address or even user name (if Monster requires those and not an email based login) Without knowing the actual names used for those, I can't say for sure if it could or couldn't be a possibility in this case. It could also be based on some sort of random number assigned when she created the accounts, to which she might not be aware that it even exists.
For me, the only conclusion I would be willing to jump to, would involve some advice for job seekers with names like William or Robert, to use nicknames like Bill or Bob in place of their full, formal first names, when setting up an account on monster.com. It might give them an advantage.