Female jobseekers may be at a disadvantage in an interview situation no matter how they present themselves to employers, new research suggests.
Academics from Newark's Rutger University psychology department found that female candidates who came across as confident and competent, yet modest, were less sought after than similarly well-qualified men.
However, if women presented themselves as competitive, capable and ambitious, the interviewers were equally put off, Management-Issues reports.
Furthermore, female candidates who appeared confident and bossy were seen to be lacking in social skills, whereas men with the same trait were considered to be competent.
Julie Phelan, Corinne Moss-Racusin and Laurie Rudman, who conducted the research, concluded: "An applicant's gender can have a profound effect on evaluations because it establishes stereotypical expectations for a candidate's interview style and job suitability."
In responding, a spokesperson for ClickAJob makes the point that old-style prejudices have not gone away, they simply have other ways of asserting themselves.
"Don't forget that prejudice means jumping to an opinion without thinking about it," he says.
"Like it or not, we are all influenced by our upbringing and without intending to may not always be as impartial as we know we should."
He adds: "On top of that, this maddeningly PC world we live in has also taught us to be evasive, so that interviewers can easily disguise their real preferences as something else."
"How many people have been fobbed off by the seemingly harmless stock rejection 'there were other candidates whose qualities more closely matched the job specification?'"
According to the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, people who have been made redundant are often lacking interview skills because they are out of practice.