Dealing with differences: the impact of perceived diversity outcomes on selection and assessment of minority candidates

Joep Hofhuis*, Karen I. van der Zee, Sabine Otten

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Although many strategies have been employed to specifically recruit and select minority employees, the selection rates for designated minority groups are often lower than those for the majority group. Minority candidates with high cultural maintenance (CM) are particularly vulnerable to cultural bias in selection procedures, a process which has proved difficult to change. This paper aims to examine whether these effects may be moderated by recruiters’ perceived diversity outcomes; whether they view diversity as beneficial or threatening to the organization's performance. In an experimental study, participants belonging to a cultural majority group played the role of recruiters (n = 99). Their diversity perceptions were manipulated by asking them to think about, and discuss, either positive or negative outcomes of cultural diversity in the workplace. They were then asked to rate fictional profiles of minority candidates for a job opening. The results confirm that CM of minority candidates has a negative main effect on the ratings they receive in assessment procedures. However, as predicted, this effect is moderated by diversity perceptions. Recruiters who perceive individual differences in the workplace as positive and beneficial, give higher ratings to candidates who maintain their own culture. This provides a promising insight in possible ways to reduce cultural bias in selection procedures.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1319-1339
Number of pages21
JournalInternational Journal of Human Resource Management
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 3 Jul 2016


  • cultural diversity
  • cultural maintenance
  • diversity outcomes
  • diversity perceptions
  • minority employees
  • selection and assessment


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