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How do interviewers respond to applicants’ initiation of salary negotiation? An exploratory study on the role of gender and personality

Gerui (Grace) Kang (Department of Accounting, St. Cloud State University, St. Cloud, Minnesota, USA)
Lin Xiu (University of Minnesota at Duluth, Duluth, Minnesota, USA)
Alan C. Roline (Department of Accounting, University of Minnesota Duluth, Duluth, Minnesota, USA)

Evidence-based HRM

ISSN: 2049-3983

Article publication date: 3 August 2015




The purpose of this paper is to examine whether women encounter more social resistance than men do when they attempt to negotiate for higher compensation, and whether the gender and personality of the interviewer moderates that resistance.


The authors conducted an experiment to explore how gender and personality jointly influence interviewers’ decision making in job negotiations.


The authors found that: first, female interviewees who initiate negotiations in a job interview are penalized by both male and female interviewers; second, more agreeable interviewers are “nicer” than less agreeable ones to interviewees who ask for more pay, even after controlling for the interviewers’ gender; and third, more extraverted interviewers are “tougher” than less extraverted interviewers toward interviewees who initiate salary negotiation. These phenomena are more pronounced when interviewees are male as opposed to female.

Research limitations/implications

Some limitations need to be brought to the reader’s attention. First, the participants of this study are undergraduate students. While most of them have job interview experience as an interviewee, few have any experience as an interviewer. In order to minimize this effect, we used human resources management students who previously had a course on hiring and selection in this experiment. Second, the order of the interviewees evaluated by participants, acting as interviewers, could cause an “order effect.”

Practical implications

This study contributes to the gender, personality, and negotiations literature, and “fills the gap” on the joint effect of gender, personality, and hiring decision making. Gender discrimination during job interviews suggests that business needs to address discrimination and diversity issues earlier. It may be wise for management to consider the potential bias of an interviewer’s gender and personality on their hiring decisions before the organization makes a final decision on which interviewee should be hired and how much salary should be offered.


To the best of the knowledge of the authors, no prior studies have explored the joint effect of gender and personality on negotiation behavior in a job interview setting from an interviewer’s perspective.



Kang, G.(G)., Xiu, L. and Roline, A.C. (2015), "How do interviewers respond to applicants’ initiation of salary negotiation? An exploratory study on the role of gender and personality", Evidence-based HRM, Vol. 3 No. 2, pp. 145-158.



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Copyright © 2015, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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