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Flirty? Friendly? Men's Perceptions of Female Applicant Nonverbal Behavior In Video Interviews

In this paper, we investigate how male evaluative decisions are influenced by female job applicants engaging in nonverbal flirting behavior — compared to engaging in nonverbal neutral behavior and nonverbal friendly behavior. Flirting in job interviews has been advised in the media as a potentially resourceful career tool for women, but little is known about the effectiveness of such advice. Drawing from social cognitions theory, we argue that male evaluators form biased inferences from flirtatious (vs. neutral or friendly) female applicant nonverbal behavior which activates gendered social categorizations that negatively influence male evaluators’ perceptions of female candidates’ competence and warmth attributes. Furthermore, these decreased perceptions of competence and warmth lead to lower hiring recommendations. Data from a video vignette experiment with male working employees support our hypotheses. We discuss the theoretical and practical implications of our results.

Celia Chui
HEC Montreal

Emma Zhao
University of Virginia
United States

Rebekka Steiner
University of Neuchatel

Eileen Suh
Boston University
United States


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