Gender Biases in (Inter) Action: The Role of Interviewers' and Applicants' Implicit and Explicit Stereotypes in Predicting Women's Job Interview Outcomes



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Although explicit stereotypes of women in the workplace have become increasingly positive, negative stereotypes persist at an implicit level, with women being more likely associated with incompetent—and men with competent—managerial traits. Drawing upon work on self-fulfilling prophecies and interracial interactions, we investigated whether and how implicit and explicit gender stereotypes held by both male interviewers and female applicants predicted women’s interview outcomes. Thirty male interviewers conducted mock job interviews with 30 female applicants. Before the interview, we measured interviewers’ and applicants’ implicit and explicit gender stereotypes. The interviewers’ and applicants’ implicit stereotypes independently predicted external evaluations of the performance of female applicants. Whereas female applicants’ higher implicit stereotypes directly predicted lower performance, male interviewers’ implicit stereotypes indirectly impaired female applicants’ performance through lower evaluations by the interviewer and lower self-evaluations by the applicant. Moreover, having an interviewer who was at the same time high in implicit and low in explicit stereotypes predicted the lowest performance of female applicants. Our findings highlight the importance of taking into account both implicit and explicit gender stereotypes in mixed-gender interactions and point to ways to reduce the negative effects of gender stereotypes in job interviews.

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