Screening job applications – About the impact of nobility

by Annika Herrmann und Uwe Peter Kanning

With the use of an online experiment including 776 participants we examined whether a title of nobility in an applicant’s name, their gender, or the evaluator’s experience with the selection process could have an impact on the candidate’s evaluation. Regarding stimulus material, the evaluators received a fictional resume, which was systematically varied in terms of the nobility title as well as the candidate’s gender. Results indicate that applicants with a title of nobility received significantly different ratings (concerning the dimension assertiveness and probability of an eventual employment) than those without a title. These effects occurred particularly for female applicants regarding their probability of an employment. However, male applicants were rated more negatively concerning their professionalism, regardless of their names. The evaluator’s experience is no safeguard against such biases.

Keywords: personnel selection, application documents, bias

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