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Sex bias in the selection interview: Does evaluation structure make a difference?

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Title: Sex bias in the selection interview: Does evaluation structure make a difference?
Author: Schalm, Rebecca L.
Department: Department of Psychology
Advisor: Cronshaw, Steven F.
Abstract: Women make up a large segment of the workforce but continue to be underrepresented in senior leadership positions. Research demonstrates that sex bias can emerge in the hiring process. In order to reduce the likelihood of sex bias in evaluation, selection procedures should reduce the potential for individual decision maker bias to contaminate the process. One method of introducing control and objectivity into the hiring process is through the structured interview. This study investigated one aspect of structure, interview evaluation, and its effect on the perception of job candidates and assessments of their suitability. It was hypothesized that increased structure in candidate evaluation would increase the extent to which job-based rather than sex-based schemas are activated and lead to equivalent assessments of the suitability of a man and woman candidate for the position of Dean of a business school. The results suggest rating structure had no effect on reducing sex bias; the two candidates were perceived as equivalent in terms of behaviors and characteristics, and were rated as equally suitable on a measure of Overall Suitability. The woman candidate was rated as less suitable on a measure of Interpersonal Suitability, and the interpersonal criteria were found to be more important in considering the woman candidate. The results suggest that a job-based schema was activated for both candidates, but that differential expectations were applied to the man and woman candidates with respect to the importance of the evaluation criteria. The failure to recognize female-typed interpersonal behaviors in the case of both candidates combined with their perceived importance for those rating the female candidate may have contributed to differential ratings of Interpersonal Suitability. Implications and limitations of the study are discussed.
Date: 2000
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