Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs
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Glass Floors and Glass Ceilings: Sex Homophily and Heterophily in Job Interviews

August 18, 2020

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In August 2020, Jayanti Owens co-wrote, "Glass Floors and Glass Ceilings: Sex Homophily and Heterophily in Job Interviews," a piece exploring the hypothesized theory of employment interviewing when female applicants are paired with female versus male interviewers. 


A widely assumed but little-tested theory of employment interviewing suggests that female job applicants will be evaluated more favorably when they are paired with female versus male interviewers. To capitalize on this hypothesized affinity, a number of organizations have begun explicitly pairing female job applicants with female interviewers, in hopes of increasing the representation of women among new hires. However, whether this practice actually results in more favorable outcomes for female job candidates remains an open empirical question. Using data on job interview evaluations from a large, professional service organization, we test the effect of matching female job candidates with female interviewers on interview scores. Highlighting the contextually dependent nature of sex homophily, we find that the effect of being matched with a female interviewer varies by the female candidate’s perceived skill level.