Research published Sex Roles found women were judged on multiple criteria for a job interview compared to men who were only evaluated on their skills. Women were judged on their competence, social behavior, and morality.
“Overall, competence played a key role in evaluation and employment decisions. However, the findings revealed that women are evaluated against more criteria than men are and that women’s weaknesses along a single dimension are likely to affect employment decisions,” concluded the research team.
The research was divided into 4 studies. The first study investigated the recruiter’s reasoning behind hiring and rejecting male and female job candidates. Data analysis consisted of reports in which recruiters described their collective judgement for hired and rejected candidates. While skill was the major factor driving a job decision for women and men, women were also judged on friendliness and morality and rejected if they appeared weak in these two traits.
The second study surveyed job recruiters on how highly they rated competence, morality, and pleasantness when selecting a prospective candidate. Competence for the job, regardless of sex, was rated the highest by recruiters when evaluating a candidate. However, while evaluations focused solely on job skills in men, women were assessed across all traits. Evaluation of all traits influenced job decisions for female candidates.
The third and fourth study focused on mitigating gender bias. Researchers observed job decisions for male and female candidates with similar measures through a mock interview with college students. Candidates were both rated high on competence, low on morality and vice versa. Once again, men were mainly judged on their level of competence. Women, on the other hand, were evaluated on their skills only when competence was low. Decisions for female candidates were also influenced by morality when morality was low. The last study studied how recruiters selected male and female candidates who had similar job evaluations. Despite similar performances, there was a preference for men over women.
“These findings suggest that women must ‘have it all’ to have a chance to be selected and, if they do not, they might be targets of a perfection bias: Because women are judged on multiple dimensions, they might be required to excel in every domain against which they are evaluated.”
The study, “Men Should Be Competent, Women Should Have it All: Multiple Criteria in the Evaluation of Female Job Candidates”, was authored by Silvia Moscatelli, Michela Menegatti, Naomi Ellemers, Marco Giovanni Mariani, and Monica Rubini.