Date of Award

Fall 12-2022

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



Committee Chair

Dale L. Lunsford

Committee Chair School


Committee Member 2

Heather M. Annulis

Committee Member 2 School


Committee Member 3

Jonathan B. Beedle

Committee Member 3 School


Committee Member 4

H. Quincy Brown

Committee Member 4 School



Implicit bias during the resumé screening process can adversely impact the ability of an organization to achieve a competitive advantage through human capital (Coff & Kryscynski, 2011). The purpose of this study was to determine if teaching resumé screeners how to control biased decision-making during resumé screening results in equal employability ratings for upper-middle and lower-middle-class applicants. The study used a quantitative, causal, quasi-experimental, single-group pretest-post-test design. The target population was people in the United States who screen resumés as part of their current job duties (Thomas, 2018). The researcher used Amazon Mechanical Turk (MTurk) to recruit participants.

Participants received a job description for a management training program and two resumés, one representing an upper-middle-class job applicant and one representing a lower-middle-class applicant (Thomas, 2018). Participants rated each resumé on perceptions of warmth, competence, and employability using the warmth and competence scales (Fiske, 2018) and an Employment Assessment scale (Cole et al., 2009). Participants viewed four short training videos that included two tactics to reduce biased behavior (Carter et al., 2020; Devine et al., 2012). After treatment, the researcher repeated the pretest procedure, and participants received two new resumés to rate.

At the pretest, employability ratings were not significantly different between upper-middle-class and lower-middle-class applicants. At the post-test, participants rated the lower-middle-class applicant higher for employability. Perceived competence mediated the effect of social class on employability at the pretest and again at the post-test. Perceived warmth mediated the effect of social class on employability only at the post-test.