Honors Program


Date of this Version


Document Type



Hartman, A. 2019. Trying to Get the Job: Hiring Implications of Using "I" Versus "We" for Female Applicants in Employment Interviews. Undergraduate Honors Thesis. University of Nebraska-Lincoln.


Copyright Alexius Hartman 2019.


Women are underrepresented within management positions. The present research experimentally investigated how gendered agentic and communal interview presentation may influence women’s entry- and management-level job opportunities. Participants were asked to assist in hiring a research lab assistant (entry-level position) or lab manager (management-level position) after viewing a female applicant’s biography and interview transcript in which the applicant revealed an agentic (e.g., “I developed a plan of action”) or communal (“We developed a plan of action”) self-presentation strategy. After reviewing applicant materials, participants indicated perceptions of the applicant’s warmth, competence, and hireability. Consistent with hypotheses, participants rated female applicants applying for the research assistant position as slightly more hireable than female applicants applying for the lab manager position. Further, agentic applicants that were perceived to be higher in masculinity were more likely to be hired than other applicants. This information helps us better understand the challenges agentic women may experience in job searches, as well as prescribes presentation strategies to reduce discrimination within interviews.