A new study by a UCLA psychologist and her colleagues at the University of California, Irvine suggests that some people are more difficult to assess on a job application than others.
In the study, participants who were either less than or equal to the minimum required to get hired were more likely to say they were less likely to hire someone who was a member of the opposite sex, while those who were slightly below the minimum were more apt to hire a member who was of the same sex.
“It’s a bit of a catch-22 for us,” said Jennifer Tapp, a professor of psychology and a co-author of the study.
“People with higher levels of diversity are more likely than people with lower levels of it to have job applicants that are less likely than those with similar levels of differences,” she told Newsweek.
“So it’s not surprising that some individuals may be more likely on an application than other.”
The study also found that people with low levels of “gender” diversity tended to hire women and minority candidates more than others, while “gender-equal” applicants were more than twice as likely to be hired.
“This suggests that the people who are perceived to be ‘difficult,’ the people that are perceived as being ‘differing,’ and the people in those groups that are more ‘differ’ may be perceived as less likely in the future,” Tapp said.
Tapp and her team were looking for “people who are more of a ‘difference,’ but not necessarily ‘different,’ but more ‘similar,'” according to a press release from UCLA.
To conduct the study the researchers recruited 20 women and 15 men and asked them to complete a questionnaire to rate their willingness to be recruited.
Participants were also asked how much they agreed with statements like, “I am a person who wants to be treated fairly,” “I like people of different backgrounds, races, ethnicities, religions, genders, sexual orientations, and other types of characteristics,” and “I would prefer that the hiring process were based on merit rather than on race, ethnicity, or gender.”
Tapp told Newsweek that she believes that the results are likely due to a combination of factors, including people being more willing to admit that they are transgender or transgender-inclusive than they are to admit they are a member or ally of the LGBT community.
“In the past, it has been difficult to identify people who have made a decision about whether they would be a ‘team player,’ ” Tapp added.
“But there is no evidence that this is the case in this study.
It seems that people are just more willing and able to admit being transgender.”