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Sounds like a fit! wording in recruitment advertisements and recruiter gender affect women’s pursuit of career development programs via anticipated belongingness.

Hentschel, T. and Braun, S. and Peus, C. and Frey, D. (2021) 'Sounds like a fit! wording in recruitment advertisements and recruiter gender affect women’s pursuit of career development programs via anticipated belongingness.', Human resource management., 60 (4). pp. 581-602.


Following calls for research to increase gender equality, we investigated women's intentions to pursue career opportunities, in the form of career development programs. We built on lack of fit and signaling theory to argue that women's but not men's pursuit of career opportunities would be influenced by recruiter gender and gender‐stereotypical wording in recruitment advertisements. We conducted two studies in Germany. In Study 1 (video‐based experiment with 329 university students), we found that when a male recruiter used stereotypically masculine compared to feminine wording, female students anticipated lower belongingness, expected lower success of an application, and indicated lower application intentions for career opportunities. These differences in female students’ evaluations disappeared when the recruiter was female. While Study 2 (experimental vignette study with 545 employees) replicates the negative effects of masculine wording for female employees; the buffering effect of female recruiters was only replicated for younger, but not for older female employees. Women's anticipated belongingness mediated the relationship between advertisement wording and application intentions when the recruiter was male. Recruiter gender and wording had no effects on men. Our work contributes to a better understanding of when and why contextual characteristics in the recruitment process influence women's pursuit of career opportunities.

Item Type:Article
Full text:Publisher-imposed embargo
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Available under License - Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial 4.0.
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Publisher statement:© 2020 The Authors. Human Resource Management published by Wiley Periodicals LLC. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution‐NonCommercial License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited and is not used for commercial purposes.
Date accepted:01 October 2020
Date deposited:13 October 2020
Date of first online publication:13 November 2020
Date first made open access:17 November 2020

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