Women who are perceived confident during job interviews seen as lacking social skills

December 11th, 2008 - 4:10 pm ICT by ANI  

Washington, Dec 11 (ANI): Women who present themselves as confident and ambitious in job interviews are viewed as highly competent but also lacking social skills, according to new study.

The study also found that women who present themselves as modest and cooperative, while well liked, are perceived as low on competence.

On contrary, confident and ambitious male candidates are viewed as both competent and likable and therefore are more likely to be hired as a manager than either confident or modest women.

For the study, Julie E. Phelan, Corinne A. Moss-Racusin, and Laurie A. Rudman of Rutgers University taped both male and female applicants interviewing to be a computer lab manager.

All applicants presented themselves as competent, but also as either confident and ambitious or modest and cooperative. Participants then evaluated the applicants competence, social skills, and hireability.

Results revealed how disparate hiring criteria further discriminates against ambitious, competent women.

When judging the ambitious womens hirability, a perceived lack of social skills formed the basis of the hiring decision, and the womens high competence was relatively neglected.

However, for ambitious men, perceived competence and interpersonal skills were weighed equally in the hiring decision.

Women were doubly disadvantaged because even when female applicants adhered to stereotypic expectations by presenting themselves as modest, they were unlikely to be hired because evaluators emphasized their relatively low competence and discounted their (high) social skills.

This new study suggests that women who seek managerial roles face a double bind.

In a bid to be viewed as sufficiently qualified for leadership, they must present themselves as confident and ambitious.

However, if they do so, they risk prejudice for acting unfeminine, which can result in hiring discrimination.

Thus, in performance settings where confidence and ambition are required to get ahead, men have a clear advantage.

The study is published in Psychology of Women Quarterly. (ANI)

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