The professional workplace can be a pretty competitive playground between employment candidates, this engenders certain biases as potential employees are often (subconsciously) compared to each other. The most common example of such comparisons is between genders. While both men and women can be equally qualified for the same position, many employers take other characteristics into consideration when hiring. In these cases, women may find themselves subject to more bias than men, in most cases. Here is a guide to hiring women in the workplace.

First, let’s analyze a study that was done by the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard that was later published by The Wall Street Journal. This study , based upon 100 fictitious job candidates, showcased either one of two tests that gagged math and verbal skills. The fake test scores were presented to nearly 550 “mock” employees that were asked for their opinions on the quality of each candidate based on the test scores individually. The main question to the employees was if the candidates should be given a second interview. The majority of these employees determined that the test scores showcased that overall, the male applicants were scored higher in the math skill tests, while the female candidates tested higher in the verbal skills. However, these determinations were generated despite the actual test scores. In fact, the employees made these statements even if the applicant’s scores were poor in each category.


After this stage of the study was complete, the employees were given more information about each job candidate, the employees stated that the stereotypes between men testing higher than women (and vice versa) for each of the skill categories dissipated. When considering the new information, the employees determined that the test scores showed that both men and women were equally qualified in their math and verbal skills.

What does this study actually mean? Unfortunately, as stated earlier, when applicants are compared to each other, employers can often lose focus on the underlying qualifications for each job. Subconsciously, the genders are each subject to their own natural qualities. Women are considered to have more patience, the ability to follow through more consistently and from an employer’s standpoint, the quality to handle stress more silently. However, men are viewed as laborers more than office support. Depending on the job description, it is very easy to feed into such stereotypes when hiring applicants. This called for the development of Equal Opportunity Employment laws – to reduce the stereotype and more importantly the defect of the hiring process.

Implementing an Effective Hiring Process

In order to implement an effective and equal opportunity hiring process, many employers have their secretary or administrative present them with resumes that omit the contact information and identifying characters of each applicant. By doing so, the employer has no choice but to choose the ideal candidates based on nothing but professional experience and qualifications for the job at hand. Upon choosing a few candidates, then the employer asks to schedule each applicant. It is not until the interview that the employer even knows the gender of each applicant. This method is becoming more popular amongst corporate offices and larger scale companies.