The impact of the wording of employment advertisements on students' inclination to apply for a job

J Soc Psychol. 2010 Sep-Oct;150(5):485-502. doi: 10.1080/00224540903365422.


Students' inclination to apply for a job was examined as a function of (1) the wording of the desired candidate's profile specified in the employment advertisement and (2) applicant gender. Previous research found that women are more inclined than men to apply for jobs that include a profile corresponding to their gender (i.e., a profile containing prototypically feminine instead of masculine personal characteristics). Based on Fiedler and Semin's (1996) Linguistic Category Model, we expected that this effect would decrease if the desired profile was worded in terms of behaviors/verbs instead of nouns/ adjectives. ANOVA supported this reasoning for women but not for men. We conclude that organizations may increase the number of women applying for particular jobs by changing the presentation form of the advertisement.

MeSH terms

  • Advertising*
  • Character
  • Female
  • Gender Identity
  • Humans
  • Job Application*
  • Job Description*
  • Judgment
  • Male
  • Motivation*
  • Semantics*
  • Students / psychology*
  • Young Adult