Facebook Employee Says Black Job Applicants Not A "Culture Fit" For Company

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Facebook Accused Of Racist "Culture Fit"

Facebook is under investigation for allegations of racially biased hiring practices. The social media giant is being accused of repeatedly turning away Black applicants who weren’t a “culture fit.”

Three Facebook job applicants filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), an agency that investigates workplace discrimination, citing instances where their talent and capabilities were overlooked while they were told they somehow just wouldn't fit in. 

"There's no doubt you can do the job, but we're really looking for a culture fit," one hiring manager allegedly told one of the three candidates, according to the Washington Post

Now as Facebook staff past and present are speaking out about how Black applicants are discriminated against at the company, the social media giant is coming under fire once more for its role in systemic racism — this time from the inside. 

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Facebook’s operations manager says the company discriminates against Black applicants

Oscar Veneszee Jr., who is a Black operations manager working at Facebook, says that his attempts to put forward more culturally diverse candidates were rejected. He suspects that the company's controversial “culture fit” had something to do with it. 

“When I was interviewing at Facebook, the thing I was told constantly was that I needed to be a culture fit, and when I tried to recruit people, I knew I needed to find people who were a culture fit,” he said. “But unfortunately not many people I knew could pass that challenge because the culture here does not reflect the culture of Black people.”

A former Facebook recruiter who left the social media site due to their racially biased hiring tactics said the company does not explicitly require their recruiters to look for candidates that fit Facebook’s culture, but the implication is there. 

“It really boils down to who do I feel comfortable hanging out with,” he said. 

The EEOC investigation has been expanded into a wider probe examining the relationship between company hiring practices and the perpetuation of racial bias. 

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“Culture fits” are inherently racially biased

“Culture fits” are a highly debated topic in hiring teams and on diversity boards. Boiling down someone’s suitability for a position to whether or not they fit the “vibe” of the company is deeply subjective and leaves plenty of room for bias.

Without any meaningful way to measure someone’s “culture fit,” this can easily be used to justify biased hiring practices. 

It’s also just not a good strategy from a growth perspective. Sure, you need to be able to work well with the people on your team, but sacrificing highly qualified candidates for fear that they might bring something a little bit too different is hardly helpful to a company’s bottom line. 

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If a “culture fit” is about conforming to the standards set by those already working in these predominately white corporations, it negates the importance of having diverse cultures and backgrounds in the workplace. 

Inevitably, those who fit the “culture” formulated by white employees will be white applicants. Perhaps, not “fitting in” is exactly why a Black applicant should be hired in order to promote diversity of thought and identity. 

Facebook’s leadership is more than 87 percent White or Asian and 66 percent male, according to the company's 2020 diversity reports. 

If these are the figures setting the tone for the “culture” of Facebook, it's not a surpise to see the lack of diverse representation trickling down to other positions. 

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Alice Kelly is an editor and writer living in Brooklyn, New York. Catch her covering all things social justice, news, and entertainment. Keep up with her Twitter for more.