Empirically-Based Risk Factors for Stereotyping Applicants and Hiring Implications
- Cognitive overburden from distractions, tiredness, and/or in time-pressured situations encourages a reliance on mental shortcuts and heuristics, such as stereotypes.
- Faculty on search committees must review and sort through many applications, which contain a wealth of information, and make determinations (e.g., number and quality of publications, order of authorship, departmental fit, letters of recommendation which are subject to bias, etc.).
- Faculty on search committees are balancing a multitude of other responsibilities.
- Search committees are asked to make complex decisions in a short time frame.
- Evaluation criteria are ambiguous. This relates to making hiring procedures as objective, explicit, and transparent as possible. Subjective criteria allow bias to be hidden because the standard by which evaluations are made is unclear.
- Limited information on which hiring decisions are based (e.g., vita, applications, work samples, job interviews which are subject to “impression management”), and limitations of supporting material that are subject to gender and race stereotypes.
- When members of stereotyped groups are rare in an organization (when there are few women or people of color, their gender, race/ethnicity is more salient and more likely to activate stereotypes, than when organizations are more diverse).
- Gender and race become more salient when women or people of color move into occupations previously dominated by non-stereotyped groups.
- Individuals face greater discrimination when traits stereotypic of their group conflict with traits stereotypic of the job they hold or to which they are applying.