UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Gender discrimination and the recruitment process : matching people and jobs in Nanaimo and Richmond Maybin, Fiona Leslie


The purpose of the thesis is to examine the nature of recruitment practices in Nanaimo and Richmond, particularly the ways in which recruiters define job requirements, attract applicants, and select a candidate, in order to investigate whether and how recruiters practice direct or indirect discrimination based on gender. To accomplish this, 74 recruiters were interviewed in August 1990 and February 1991, resulting in 84 job vacancies and 151 people hired. Data were obtained from unstructured interviews with recruiters, who were asked to give an account of the procedure that they followed to fill a recent job vacancy in their organization. Five stages of the recruitment process were examined: job descriptions and advertisements; ideal candidate construction; applicant search methods; narrowing the applicant pool; and the job interview and final candidate selection. It was found that, throughout the recruitment process, recruiters rarely practiced direct forms of discrimination against applicants based on their sex. However, employers’ search methods and the ways that job descriptions were worded usually led to only one sex applying for the vacant positions, with the exception of gender-neutral job vacancies. It was also found that female applicants for female-gendered jobs were evaluated much more than males on the basis of personal characteristics. Ideal candidate construction and the elimination of short-listed applicants were stages where the most frequent use of covert discrimination on the basis of gender was located. Few personal characteristics were devoid of gendered connotations; yet, most recruiters were unaware of the implications of attaching the need for personal characteristics to the requirements for a job.

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