The effects of applicant weight, conscientiousness, and nurturing job demands on job suitability ratings and hiring recommendations




Krueger, Dianna Contreras

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The purpose of this study was to examine a number of factors that may affect weight-based biases in organizations using two models of stigmas as the bases for the hypotheses (i.e., Stone & Colella, 1996; Stone, Stone, & Dipboye, 1992). In particular, it used a 2 x 2 x 2 randomized experimental design and data from 400 participants to assess the main and interactive effects of the (a) applicant weight (normal vs. overweight), (b) applicant conscientiousness (low vs. high), and (c) nurturing job demands (low vs. high) on job suitability ratings and hiring recommendations. It also examined the extent to which rater ethnicity (Anglo-American vs. Hispanic-American) is related to these ratings. The results indicate that overweight female applicants are rated as more suitable for jobs and more likely to be recommended for hire when they have high rather than low conscientiousness. In addition, results reveal that Hispanic-Americans are more likely to recommend overweight applicants for hire than Anglo-Americans. A three-way interaction shows that job suitability ratings and hiring recommendations depend on rater ethnicity, applicant conscientiousness, and nurturing job demands. Results of analyses also indicate that two stereotypes (i.e., attractiveness, health) mediated the relations between weight and applicant ratings. Implications of these findings for theory, future research, practice, and society as a whole are considered along with potential limitations associated with the study.


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weight-based bias, body weight, overweight, obese, normal weight, applicant, nurturing job demands, conscientiousness, ethnicity, Hispanic-Americans, Anglo-Americans, selection, job suitability, hiring recommendations, expectations, stereotypes, stigmas, Model of Stereotypes, Model of the Treatment of Persons with Disabilities