Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


College of Humanities and Social Sciences



Thesis Sponsor/Dissertation Chair/Project Chair

Jennifer Bragger

Committee Member

Valerie Sessa

Committee Member

Eugene Kutcher


Stereotypes (Social psychology), Discrimination in employment, Industrial Psychology, Social perception


The most common tool in the job selection process is the in-person job interview. The job interview is used as way to determine if the individual is a match for the job functions and the culture of the organization. Interviews are generally considered to be unstructured, which allows for a free flow of topics or is structured and follows a more ridged format. From the view of the person applying for a job, the interview is the most stressful aspect of the selection. As the interview is considered to be social interaction between many people, many times stereotypes can influence the outcome of hiring decision, even when it is not intended. Stereotype threat is a phenomena in which a person interprets that they are being judged by a known group stereotype. In the context of the selection process, when applicants that feel threatened by their group stereotype they often underperform on pre-employment testing. The individual does not have to be aware that they are being stereotyped as indirect cues are often the powerful to increase anxiety. The purpose of this paper was to investigate how stereotypes, and varying degrees of interview structure can influence participants pre-employment test scores. This study recruited 338 undergraduate students to partake in simulated job selection process. All participants were interviewed based on future career or educational goals and where given pre-employment assessment. Our results were mixed as we found only partial support for four hypotheses. This research was able to replicate the traditional research on the evaluative nature of the job interview and how priming for stereotype threat can influence task performance. Future research should focus on populations that are further in their careers to see if veteran employees are as susceptible as this early career population.

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