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Applicant gender and recruiter and organizational characteristics

Karen Landay (Department of Management, University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, Alabama, USA)
Sarah DeArmond (Department of Management and Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Oshkosh, Oshkosh, Wisconsin, USA)

Gender in Management

ISSN: 1754-2413

Article publication date: 18 December 2018

Issue publication date: 21 February 2019




The purpose of this study is to understand how applicant gender may interact with recruiter and organizational characteristics to affect organization attraction. Interpreting characteristics of individuals (e.g., recruiters) and organizations requires some degree of interpersonal sensitivity. Evidence shows that women are generally more skilled in this area than men, but women’s skills are not stronger when evaluating characteristics that are male relevant (e.g., dominance, status).


This study used an experimental between-subjects design in one sample of undergraduate students and one sample of working adults to explore the interaction of applicant gender with two known predictors of organization attraction: recruiter competence and hiring firm reputation.


As hypothesized, there was a significant interaction between recruiter competence and applicant gender on organization attraction in both samples. Contrary to the hypothesis, there was a significant interaction between hiring firm reputation and applicant gender in the sample of working adults, but not the sample of undergraduate students.

Practical implications

Results suggest that firms wishing to increase the number of women in their workforces should be particularly mindful of how they select and train recruiters as well as how positively their reputation is perceived by potential job applicants.


These results suggest that there may be gender differences in how applicants perceive and react to a variety of factors during the recruitment process that previous research has not considered.



Landay, K. and DeArmond, S. (2019), "Applicant gender and recruiter and organizational characteristics", Gender in Management, Vol. 34 No. 1, pp. 2-18.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2018, Emerald Publishing Limited

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