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Inferring incompetence from employment status: an audit-like experiment

Okoroji, Celestin ORCID: 0000-0002-6238-7074, Gleibs, Ilka H. ORCID: 0000-0002-9913-250X and Howard, Simon (2023) Inferring incompetence from employment status: an audit-like experiment. PLOS ONE, 18 (3). ISSN 1932-6203

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Identification Number: 10.1371/journal.pone.0280596


Audit studies demonstrate that unemployed people are less likely to receive a callback when they apply for a job than employed candidates, the reason for this is unclear. Across two experiments (N = 461), we examine whether the perceived competence of unemployed candidates accounts for this disparity. In both studies, participants assessed one of two equivalent curriculum vitae’s, differing only on the current employment status. We find that unemployed applicants are less likely to be offered an interview or hired. The relationship between the employment status of the applicant and these employment-related outcomes is mediated by the perceived competence of the applicant. We conducted a mini meta-analysis, finding that the effect size for the difference in employment outcomes was d = .274 and d = .307 respectively, while the estimated indirect effect was -.151[-.241, -.062]. These results offer a mechanism for the differential outcomes of job candidates by employment status.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2023 The Authors
Divisions: Psychological and Behavioural Science
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor
Date Deposited: 09 Jan 2023 11:54
Last Modified: 27 Mar 2023 09:03

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