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Glass Floors and Glass Ceilings: The Effect of Pairing Female Job Applicants with Female Evaluators in Job Interviews

Abstract

A widely assumed but little tested theory of employment interviewing suggests that female job applicants will be evaluated more favorably when they are paired with female versus male interviewers. To capitalize on this hypothesized affinity, a number of organizations have begun explicitly pairing female job applicants with female interviewers, with the hopes of increasing the representation of women among new hires. However, whether this practice actually results in more favorable outcomes for female job candidates remains an open empirical question. Using micro-level data on real-life job interview evaluations from a large, professional services organization, we test the effect of matching female job candidates with female interviewers on hiring recommendations. Highlighting the contextually dependent nature of sex homophily, we find that the effect of being matched with a female interviewer for female candidates varies by the perceived skill level of the candidate. Sex matches in job interviews work in favor of those female candidates perceived to be lowest in skill, have a small, statistically non-significant negative effect for female candidates of average perceived skill, and have a significant, negative effect for women at the highest level of perceived skill. Consequently, we argue that matching female candidates with female evaluators in job interviews can operate both as a glass floor that can prevent female applicants from falling below a certain scoring threshold but also a glass ceiling that can prevent the most skilled female applicants from receiving the highest interview ratings and most positive hiring recommendations.

Type

Working Paper

Author(s)

Lauren Rivera, Jayanti Owens

Date Published

2017

Citations

Rivera, Lauren, and Jayanti Owens. 2017. Glass Floors and Glass Ceilings: The Effect of Pairing Female Job Applicants with Female Evaluators in Job Interviews.

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