Perceptions of candidate strength in job recruitment: Does candidate race moderate the attractiveness bias in White women?

Publication Name

International Journal of Selection and Assessment


The attractiveness bias suggests that people who are more attractive will be positively favored across life outcomes. This study sought to test whether candidate attractiveness, sex, and race, affect perceptions of candidate strength in a job recruitment task. In total, 338 White women (Mage = 20.94 ± 5.65) were asked to make judgements of a potential candidate for an administrative job (resume with candidate photograph). The vignettes differed in terms of candidate ability (strong/weak), sex (male/female), race (Black/White), and attractiveness (attractive/less attractive). Participants rated perceived candidate strength and likelihood to invite for interview. Results showed no significant main effects for attractiveness. However, there was a significant interaction for target attractiveness and race, such that attractive/White candidates were more likely to be invited for interview than less attractive/White candidates. There was also a significant main effect for race such that Black candidates were rated as stronger and more likely to be interviewed. Sensitivity analyses (with nonheterosexual women removed from the sample) also showed a main effect for target sex such that female candidates were favored over male candidates. Overall, these findings provide evidence that attractiveness, sex, and race have important, albeit complex, effects on hiring decisions in the workplace.

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