Peer-Reviewed Publications

He's overqualified, she's highly committed: Qualification signals and gendered assumptions about job candidate commitment

(authors: Campbell, E.L., & Hahl, O.)Organization Science | 2022 | Link

Research abstract: Evidence suggests that possessing more qualifications than is necessary for a job (i.e., overqualification) negatively impacts job candidates’ outcomes. However, unfair discounting of women’s qualifications and negative assumptions about women’s career commitment imply that female candidates must be overqualified to achieve the same outcomes as male candidates. Across two studies, experimental and qualitative data provide converging evidence in support of this assertion, showing that gender differences in how overqualification impacts hiring outcomes are due to the type of commitment—firm or career—that is most salient during evaluations. Overqualified men are perceived to be less committed to the prospective firm, and less likely to be hired as a result, than sufficiently qualified men. But overqualified women are perceived to be more committed to their careers than qualified women because overqualification helps overcome negative assumptions that are made about women’s career commitment. Overqualification also does not decrease perceptions of women’s firm commitment like it does for men: supplemental qualitative and experimental evidence reveal that hiring managers rationalize women’s overqualification in a way they cannot for men by relying on gender stereotypes about communality and assumptions about candidates’ experiences with gender discrimination at prior firms. These findings suggest that female candidates must demonstrate their commitment along two dimensions (firm and career), but male candidates need only demonstrate their commitment along one dimension (firm). Taken together, differences in how overqualification impacts male versus female candidates’ outcomes are evidence of gender inequality in hiring processes, operating through gendered assumptions about commitment.

From exception to exceptional: How gender and tenure impact sponsor effectiveness

(authors: Campbell, E.L., Aven, B., & Chow, R.M.)Academy of Management Discoveries | 2022 | Link

Research abstract: The critical role that referrals play in the hiring process, particularly for candidates contending with negative stereotypes and biases, is well documented. However, how those stereotypes and biases impact sponsors, and the effectiveness of the referrals that they provide, is not well understood. Drawing on evidence of reversals of gender bias, we explore the impact of sponsors’ gender and tenure on the effectiveness of their referrals in the context of U.S. Supreme Court law clerk hiring decisions. This is an appropriate setting because success in the application process for these elite early career positions is contingent on having a strong recommendation from a judge with which the candidate has previously worked, making it ideal to study gender differences in the effectiveness of referrals. Analyses show candidates recommended by male sponsors are more likely to be hired compared to those recommended by female sponsors overall, but this dynamic is also dependent on the sponsor’s tenure and the candidate’s gender. For female sponsors, higher levels of tenure are associated with better hiring outcomes for their female candidates only. All other gender combinations do not benefit from sponsor seniority. Possible mechanisms, limitations, and implications for future research directions are discussed.

Other Articles & Public Scholarship

Stop undervaluing exceptional women

(authors: Campbell, E.L.. & Hahl, O.)Harvard Business Review | July 22, 2022 | Link

Excerpt: "Our findings illuminate how standout women employees can be taken for granted by firms because of gendered beliefs about who is and who isn’t a flight risk. Moreover, such gendered dynamics likely contribute to the glass ceiling and gender gaps in earnings. If firms assume women will place loyalty to the firm over advancing in their careers through outside opportunities, they won’t engage in preemptive retention efforts like bonuses, raises, promotions, or increased responsibility like they will for men." (read more here)

Why female employees are seen as 'uncommitted' when they are not overqualified

(author: Campbell, E.L..)Fast Company | April 22, 2022 | Link

Excerpt: "Organizational initiatives focused on increasing awareness of gender inequality are popular. But research I conducted at the University of California San Diego with Oliver Hahl, an associate professor at Carnegie Mellon University, suggests awareness is an insufficient solution to the problem. We find that despite women’s experiences with discrimination being at the forefront of people’s minds, overqualified women are still hired for the same jobs and ranks as sufficiently qualified men. This means inequality at work isn’t only the fault of blatant sexists who mistreat women. It’s also perpetuated unintentionally by people aware of the problem and motivated to help." (read more here)

For more information on Campbell's early stage research, see her CV.