Hiring processes favor elite schools and masculine qualities

Madison Rexroat

Human Resources professionals and hiring managers play an important role in social, professional and financial mobility. Especially for elite jobs, these gatekeepers have a huge influence over who gets access to a job and who doesn’t.

Elite firms, while they say they promote diversity, have institutional practices that can slow mobility, if allowing for it at all. Firms tend to target highly prestigious schools and ignore resumes from those that went to non-target schools – not primarily for exclusivity reasons, but for better efficiency. However, those practices can make firms blind to other candidates who could do the job just as well as students from target schools.

Students from less prestigious schools sometimes don’t have access to the same training or culture so valued by elite professionals – social polish, interview savviness, etc. This can make mobility even harder as hiring managers search for “fit” with the company and similarities to themselves. If a hiring manager is from an affluent background and went to a prestigious college, chances are they will be more biased toward those who did the same.

Another interesting finding is that job candidates (men and women) with more feminine characteristics are often at a disadvantage in interview settings because professionals at certain elite firms are more likely to be interested in sports and hobbies that are more masculine-associative.

With 64 percent of Americans believing that it’s possible to go from rags to riches and 63 percent doubting that their children will be better off than they were, upward mobility is certainly an topic of consideration for job seekers and job gatekeepers.

To read the full article in The Atlantic, click here.