Anticipating Discrimination in the Labor Market: Implications for Job Seekers' Impression Management
Discrimination against minorities in the labor market is a well-documented issue, yet existing research often portrays minority job seekers as passive victims. This research project addresses this gap by examining minorities as proactive actors who anticipate discrimination and adapt their behavior accordingly. Our hypothesis posits that when constructing their profiles on professional social media platforms, such as LinkedIn, minorities who anticipate discrimination employ more impression management strategies to mitigate bias.
To investigate this hypothesis, we conducted two studies: a time-lagged survey involving U.S. job seekers on Cloudresearch and a laboratory experiment with Swiss university students. Our results reveal that minority job seekers indeed anticipate discrimination. Moreover, they not only invest more effort when constructing their profiles on professional social media platforms but also use more impression management strategies (self-promotion), resulting in more favorable evaluations for their profiles. Additionally, our findings show that gender significantly influences this process, emphasizing the issue's complexity. These findings highlight the importance of considering minority job seekers not only as passive but as proactive actors in the hiring process. Furthermore, they emphasize the need for more transparent and equitable recruitment processes.