The role of career history in gender based biases in job selection decisions

Shlomo Hareli, Motti Klang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose - The purpose of the present research is to test the hypothesis that hiring decisions are influenced by the perceived femininity and masculinity of candidates as inferred from their career history. Design/methodology/ approach - Two job selection simulation studies were conducted in which students with and without personnel selection experience assessed the suitability of male and female job candidates for male and female sex-typed jobs. The candidate's CVs varied with regard to the gender typicality of the candidate's career history. Findings - As predicted, when they previously had occupied another gender atypical job, both men and women were perceived as more suitable for a job that is more typical of the opposite gender. These decisions were mediated fully for women and partially for men by the impact of the gender typicality of the candidate's career on their perceived masculinity or femininity. In addition, men who had a gender atypical career history were perceived as less suitable for gender typical jobs. Thus, for men a gender atypical career history can serve as a "double edged sword." Importantly, experienced and inexperienced decision makers were equally subject to this effect. Originality/value - Career history provides individuating information about a candidate over and above the skills and experiences they are likely to have. Gender type is one such information that is pertinent in a job market that divides jobs into male and female typical and makes hiring decisions on this basis. Previous research has largely ignored this aspect of career history.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)252-269
Number of pages18
JournalCareer Development International
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2008


  • Career development
  • Careers
  • Gender
  • Recruitment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management


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