Confident women lack social skills

Washington, Dec 12 : Women who project themselves as confident and ambitious in job interviews are perceived as highly competent but lacking in social skills.

Women who present themselves as modest and cooperative, while well liked, are perceived as low on competence.

However, confident and ambitious male candidates are viewed as both competent and likable and therefore are more likely to be hired as a manager than either confident or modest women.

Julie E. Phelan, Corinne A. Moss-Racusin, and Laurie A. Rudman of Rutgers University taped both male and female applicants interviewing to be a computer lab manager.

All applicants presented themselves as competent, but also as either confident and ambitious or modest and cooperative. Participants then evaluated the applicants’ competence, social skills, and hirability.

Results show how disparate hiring criteria further discriminates against ambitious, competent women, said Rutgers release.

When judging the ambitious women’s hirability, a perceived lack of social skills formed the basis of the hiring decision, and the womens’ high competence was relatively neglected.

For ambitious men, however, perceived competence and interpersonal skills were weighed equally in the hiring decision. Hence women were doubly disadvantaged because evaluators emphasised their relatively low competence and discounted their (high) social skills.

The study was published in Psychology of Women Quarterly.

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