Journal of College & University Student Housing Vol. 47 No. 3 - 48

INFLUENCES ON HIRING
DECISIONS
Research across fields exposed racial bias,
gender role stereotypes, physical appearance, and social media profile pictures influencing hiring decisions (Baert, 2018; Baert
& Decuypere, 2014; Rice & Barth, 2017).
Rice and Barth's (2017) study simulated hiring activities where participants were asked
to make hiring decisions for traditionally
masculine and feminine positions. Rice and
Barth found hiring decisions more often
reflected a match between the applicants'
gender and the occupational stereotypes.
Additionally, when aspects incongruent
with traditional gender role stereotypes were
intentionally introduced, Rice and Barth
(2017) found these influenced how applicants were rated but failed to influence the
hiring decision.
	
Baert and Decuypere's (2014) study
placed 19 and 20-year-old students from
Ghent University in the role of recruiting for
an entry level job within a lab setting. The
study found that " perceived attractiveness
and conscientiousness [were] important drivers of a recruiter's decision to invite a candidate for a job interview " (p. 600). These
findings carry specific interest given the age
of the participants and the involvement of
many current undergraduate staff in the RA
candidate evaluation process. Baert's (2018)
study of Facebook profile pictures resulted in
similar findings. Specifically, fictitious candidates with more favorable (perceived attractiveness) Facebook pictures received approximately 38% more interview invitations than

candidates with identical credentials and
less favorable pictures. Finally, Fulthrop and
D'Eloia (2015) found hiring decisions were
influenced by time in the field and educational background.

IMPACT OF BAD HIRING
DECISIONS
The RA selection process is a time and resource intensive process (Berg & Stoner,
2016). A bad hire can cost an organization
up to sixteen percent of the annual salary for
a high-turnover job earning under $30,000 a
year (Boushy & Glynn, 2012). However, there
is little support in the literature that dedicating these precious resources results in improved hiring decisions. This study defines
a bad hire as an RA that is either put on probation or terminated as a result of poor job
performance. Bad hiring decisions may also
result in negative ripple effects that could
manifest prior to termination or negative effects after the termination of a bad hire. The
effects of a bad hire are varied and can be
displayed in different ways such as low staff
morale, sub-par staff performance, poor staff
cohesion, and staff burnout.
	
The length of time a bad hire is allowed
to underperform in their role impacts the extent of damage to a staff team and residential community. Bad hires could immediately
lower the expected performance standards.
The lowest performing member of a team
typically sets the bar for acceptable work, if
allowed (Felps et al., 2006). Additionally, bad
hires can not only affect morale among staff,
but also the larger residential community to
which they were assigned.

There is no doubt that the RA position is crucial to ensure
success for every residence life program, which in turn,
makes RA hiring critically important.
Volume 47, No. 3 * 2021

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Journal of College & University Student Housing Vol. 47 No. 3

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