By now you may have heard that women are more likely to be interviewed for jobs at companies like Apple or Google than for the most prestigious ones.
While there are many factors at play, one of the most important is that men who interview for jobs are more than twice as likely to end up with a woman.
“In a recent article published in The Wall Street Journal, a researcher found that men and women who interview to fill jobs are much more likely than women to get the same job, but there is no relationship between interview performance and gender,” says co-author James D. Cohan, professor of psychology at the University of Southern California.
“The relationship between job interview performance, gender and gender pay is quite different.”
In the current study, Cohan and his colleagues found that women interviewed for positions with the highest number of women also got the same number of interviews.
This is the first study to look at this relationship and found that the odds of getting the same interview with a man as a woman increased as a function of the gender of the interviewee.
This could explain why women who are better than men in the interview process are still more likely not to land the job.
“We think this might have a bearing on why women are still less often asked for interviews in this space,” says Cohan.
He and his team also found that job interviews with the same person are often conducted with a different interviewer and that the interviewers are more comfortable with being interviewed with the person they want to interview.
So if you want to be a better interviewee, Cahn says it’s important to have the right person in the room.
“It’s a great strategy to have someone you can work with, someone you’re comfortable talking to and someone who you’re familiar with.
It may even help you get the job you want,” he says.
However, this strategy does not work for every job.
When a woman is asked to interview with an interviewee she might be more comfortable speaking with the candidate she’s interviewing for, and this might make her less likely get the right interview, says Cutch.
In other words, the interviewer’s familiarity with you might influence the person you’re interviewing with, and the interviewees may even be more likely if the person is familiar with you.
“Even though we think this is true in this case, this does not necessarily mean that this is why women aren’t interviewed more often,” says Dhananjana Bose, a doctoral student in sociology at the Graduate School of Business at Cornell University.
“I don’t think it’s that women aren ‘out of the loop’ when it comes to the interview,” says Bose.
In fact, she suggests that there may be a benefit to hiring women in the first place.
“If you hire women, you are not necessarily recruiting women that you know have been successful in the field of their career,” says Srinivasan.
“You are recruiting women who may have the skillset to do the job and who are not going to take a job with you because they’re not going out of the room with you, but they might bring something to the table,” she says.
So, how do you know whether you’re getting the job or not?
Cohan points out that it is not the interviewer who decides who gets the interview.
Rather, the candidate should have some form of experience with the field in which they’re interviewing.
“When you’re working with a potential hire, it’s really important that you have a clear idea of what you’re looking for,” he explains.
“There’s nothing worse than someone who’s not sure about what they want from you and you end up in a job interview.
There are people who are willing to do that for a lot less money.”
In other cases, hiring a woman could be a good idea if you’re a woman in the position.
“Women are just not as good at interviews as men,” says Mandy Miller, a freelance writer and author of The Art of Interviewing.
“A lot of the time, women are not even qualified for interviews, because they haven’t done any interviews, they haven, you know, just not had time to do them.”
And when interviewing for a job, Miller says, it might be a mistake to assume that a woman would be better than a man because of her experience.
“At the end of the day, I think it is more important for a candidate to be on the right side of the camera, so they can show that they can take that interview with someone who can actually be on their side,” she explains.
That being said, it is important to note that, in general, women may have a more positive impression of someone who is more experienced in the job, says Bowerman.
“And I think that may be due to the fact that a lot of women are looking for jobs that are open-ended,” she adds.