Will Gender Presentation Make Or Break Your Job Interview?

Man_Up
We're all different when we're with different people, but we aren't always aware of it. Sure, sometimes you're making a conscious effort to drop fewer F-bombs around Mom, but other times it's more problematic: As a new study suggests, playing up (or down) traditionally "gendered" traits can influence your job-interview success.
Advertisement
The paper, published in a recent issue of Psychology of Women Quarterly, had male and female participants read a fake job ad and watch videos of actors (both men and women) "interviewing" for the job. Afterwards, the participants rated the applicants on how qualified, pleasant, friendly, and likable they seemed.
Results showed that all applicants who acknowledged their gender during the interview were rated more negatively by participants. Interestingly, though, male participants preferred female applicants who emphasized traditionally "masculine" traits (such as independence and assertiveness). Female participants, on the other hand, rated female applicants more positively when they emphasized their traditionally "feminine," or "communal" traits (such as being sensitive to others’ concerns). But, while assertiveness may help women win over men on the job market, the opposite is true on the dating market: A previous study from Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin also suggested that men prefer stereotypically "nice" women on first dates.
Unfortunately, it seems like these dual (and opposing) male preferences don't stop there. Just a few weeks ago, research from Maria do Mar Pereira, PhD, a sociologist at the University of Warwick, concluded research on 14-year-olds that shows girls feel the need to “play dumb” — downplaying their abilities, pretending to be less intelligent, and withdrawing from sports — so as not to intimidate boys. Meanwhile, another study looked at the differences in language used in brochures for male and female Pennsylvania State Assembly candidates. Their results showed that female candidates' brochures were dominated by mentions of traditionally "masculine" traits. The author suggests the women felt they wouldn't be elected if they "ran as women."
So, "femininity" will get you a date and an easier time in high school, but it won't get you a job or a political position? The real issue, of course, is much larger than "manning up." Being independent and assertive is a good thing, regardless of your gender — yet so is caring about other people's feelings. Assigning each of these traits a gender is both antiquated and inaccurate, especially with so many people discarding not just gendered traits, but gender itself. Hiring discrimination based on gender was outlawed no less than 50 years ago; shouldn't gender presentation be included in that, too?
Advertisement

More from Mind

No one goes through life trying to be a horrible person. But sometimes, it's a challenge to go that extra mile (or even just a few steps) out of your way...
Living with anxiety can feel like a constant battle. You have to stay alert to catch anxiety creeping up on you, and it can turn into an all-day fight to ...
We explore the unconscious messages a voice can give off and why snap judgments can be harmful, even if they're innocent
(Paid Content) Taking short breaks during the workday can bring your sanity back to earth. Of course, they have a calming effect, but did you know breaks ...
It's not always easy to predict how much you're going to drink when you go out — or how drunk you'll actually get. And according to a new study, your ...
This story was originally published on May 19, 2016. A few years ago, I called my dad for one of our weekly chats — but he wasn’t happy to hear from me...
As much as it sucks, anxiety doesn’t have to be a bad thing. Without a little bit of it, you wouldn’t make sure to show up on time to that job interview or...
(Paid Content) Moods are fickle things. You can be going about your day in a happy, productive, and calm manner, and boom — everything changes. And ...
This story was originally published on May 19, 2016. I am six years old, in the first grade girls’ bathroom with my friend. We are washing our hands. ...
This story was originally published on Jul. 19, 2016. Several months ago, a woman I’m very close to checked herself into a hospital because she’d been ...
This article was originally published on May 27, 2015. Now that pot legislation is making its way across the country, it's time for a refresher on the ...
Depression is one of the most common mental-health issues in the United States, and it affects roughly twice as many women as men. Yet new research ...
On social media, it's easy to catch all sorts of digital diseases, such as FOMO, internet addiction, and anxiety. Facebook and Instagram-wary researchers...
As a culture, we have a slight tendency to exaggerate. We don’t just love PSLs — we’re obsessed. We aren’t just neat and tidy — we Kondo. Another term we ...