Objective champions & compassionate enthusiasts – Gendered wording in job ads

A larger Swedish consulting company recently claimed that “A simple change in recruitment ads significantly increased women applicants”.

“Wow”, I thought, “that’s so 2017”. I remember the first wave of claims like this when I was working at a larger German automotive supplier. We had a job advertisement “scanner” in our diversity tool box – rumors had it that the scanner would highlight male words so that you could change them to something more female. Which in turn was supposed to make more women apply. Even today, some companies offer paid services on improving your ads, other tools are readily available online or you can just check out the original word list here.

I got exited about the claim by the Swedish consulting company – especially since they wrote in there press release that there were “a number of studies […] [showing that] the presence of masculine gendered words discourages women from applying to male-dominated roles, as they can make women feel they don’t belong in that work environment.” 

Maybe that actually was true. Maybe much has changed since 2017 and new research had been published to find a causal link between carefully gendered job ads and higher application numbers of female candidates.

Spoiler alert – nothing had changed.

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Big 5 or Big 6?

This essay will describe and evaluate Lee and Ashton’s (2009) 60-item HEXACO-60, a personality inventory which is a shorter version of the 100-item HEXACO-PI-R and is derived from the Big Five personality taxonomy. Firstly, I will briefly describe the HEXACO-60 and reason why it fits best with the trait approaches of personality. After this, I will interweave theory and application by describing why this test has been developed within this theoretical approach. Finally, potential criticism from the two other theoretical developments, namely the humanistic-phenomenological and the psychoanalytic perspective, within personality psychology is accounted for.

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