Editor’s Note: I have succumbed to yet another cliche and added a “Politics” category. Sorry.
When you apply for a job at the university where I work, you are quickly acknowledged with a note that contains the following:
As we are an Equal Opportunity Employer, we request that you fill out the Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) Form which can be accessed at the link below. The form will be returned electronically to the Office of Equal Opportunity and Access. This form will be kept separate from the hiring process and will not play a role in the employment decision.
Note the last sentence of the quote above. It’s reiterated in the form itself: “This form will not be kept with your application nor considered in the employment decision.” It doesn’t even matter if you fill it out or not.
So what’s the point? They’re asking for information that you don’t have to give them, that they won’t connect to you or the decision to hire you in any way, and which has no bearing on anything other than keeping statistics that have no meaning (since they are not based on complete information).
I have always made it a point to ignore requests to provide this information, as a matter of principle. It’s a case of completely useless and wasteful resources going towards something that sounds good in theory, but is impossible to achieve in practice.