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New Research Suggests Where You Live Influences If You Get a Job Interview

commuteDavid Phillips is an Associate Research Professor at the Wilson Sheehan Lab for Economic Opportunities in the Economics Department at the University of Notre Dame – and he has some interesting new research about the way HR thinks about where some applicants live.

It all starts with your resume. As I’ve blogged about before, while the resume isn’t the most important part of your job search, it is a bit of a prerequisite. And one of the “must have” pieces of the resume is, of course, your home address.

But did you know HR professionals actually look at your place of residence with your commute in mind – specifically when it comes to low wage jobs?

Per Phillips’ research:

My results show that applicants living in distant neighborhoods received positive responses from employers less frequently than those living near the workplace. In fact, applicants who lived 5-6 miles farther from the job received about one-third fewer callbacks.

Phillips goes on to explain:

In some ways, avoiding applicants with long commutes makes a lot of sense from the employer’s point of view. Low-wage jobs tend to have high turnover and absence rates, which could be exacerbated when the employee has a long ride to work. Recently on a radio show discussing my research, a former suburban hiring manager called in to echo this sentiment: “We had a difficult time finding applicants for our low-level clerical positions because those applicants lived in the city. … We found that we were not able to keep those employees very long because of the long commute. … So, as we were recruiting for employees, we definitely took into account where they lived.” Transportation probably matters most for these for these entry-level employees who are less able to buy stable transportation than their high-wage counterparts.

This data has some very interesting implications. Whether you are on the hiring decision maker side of the story or you are an applicant for a low wage job, you should read this Harvard Business Review article that Phillips wrote.