Reactions to stigmas in the employment interview: An eye tracking investigation
Madera, Juan M.
Hebl, Michelle R.
Doctor of Philosophy
Although the employment interview is one of the most widely used and researched methods for selecting employees, interview are not free from biases, and in fact, research shows that individuals who have stigmas often face discrimination in the employment interview (Dipboye, 1997; Dipboye & Colella, 2005). Drawing from theory and research on perceived stigma (Pryor, Reeder, Yeadon, & McInnis, 2004), attentional processes (Rinck & Becker, 2006), working memory (Baddeley & Hitch, 1974; Engle, 2002) and regulatory resources (Muraven & Baumeister, 2000), this study investigated the processes in which a stigma on the face affects interview outcomes and methods that interviewees might use as remediation strategies. The results showed that participants that viewed an applicant with a stigma attended more to the stigma area and that visual attention to the stigma was related to more self-regulatory depletion and less memory recall. The data suggests that participants looking at applicants with a stigma during an interview regulated and experienced more divided attention than participants looking at applicants without a stigma. Furthermore, participants that looked at an applicant with a stigma rated the applicant lower than participants that viewed an applicant without a stigma. The results also showed that the relationship between stigma and applicant ratings was mediated by visual attention and memory of the interview. Acknowledgement from applicants interacted with time of visual attention affecting attention allocated to the stigma at different time points.