Social Media as Input for Recruiment: Does Women's Relationship History Affect Candidate Evaluations?

Karlijn Massar*, Gill A Ten Hoor

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


We examine whether information about a female candidate's relationship history, obtained from social media profiles, affects evaluations of her suitability for a student union board position. Moreover, we investigate whether it is possible to mitigate any bias against women with multiple partners by providing information about the origins of prejudice. We utilized a 2 (relationship history: multiple vs. one partner(s)) X 2 (mitigating information: explaining prejudice against promiscuous women vs. explaining prejudice against outgroups) experimental design across two studies. Participants were female students (Study 1: n = 209 American students; Study 2; n = 119 European students), who indicated whether they would hire the applicant for a job, and evaluated this applicant. Results show that generally, participants tended to evaluate the candidate with multiple partners less positively than the candidate with only one partner: They were less likely to hire her (Study 1), evaluated her less positively (Study 1), and considered her less of a fit with the organization (Study 1 and 2). The results regarding providing additional information were not consistent. Our findings suggest that private social media information can influence applicant evaluations and hiring decisions, and therefore organizations should be careful when utilizing social information in recruitment processes.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages17
JournalPsychological Reports
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 27 Feb 2023


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