This study’s purpose was to assess the prevalence of weight bias in the hiring of female applicants among students attending Southern Methodist University. Weight bias in hiring for a CEO position was assessed in 87 total male and female participants by viewing one of two possible applicants’ resumés – one slim and one overweight female. Experience and qualifications for each resumé were identical, only the headshots differed. Participants saw either the overweight applicant or the slim applicant, after which they filled out a questionnaire that asked them to indicate whether they would hire the individual and state the reason for their decision. We found no significant difference between which applicant participants chose to hire. Gender did not predict which applicant participants were more likely to hire or reject. These findings contradicted our hypotheses. We had predicted that the overweight female applicant would have been hired less by participants, relative to the slim applicant. Additionally, we had predicted that this weight bias against the overweight female applicant would have a higher incidence in males. Similar studies going forward should focus on providing a truly random sample of participants and use clearer instructions to read to the participant. Experimenters should also consider using in-person interviews instead of resumés, and perhaps a larger sample size to determine if in fact there was a detectable effect present. Remaining limitations and explanations for the results will be presented in the discussion.
"Weight Bias in Hiring,"
SMU Journal of Undergraduate Research: Vol. 6:
2, Article 2.
Available at: https://scholar.smu.edu/jour/vol6/iss2/2
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