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Interviewing for a new job is no easy feat.
Not only do you have to spend the night before researching the ins and outs of the role, choosing an appropriate outfit, and thinking of a valid excuse to call in sick for your current job the next day, you're then faced with the pressure of appearing calm, poised and confident in front of a panel of strangers, while attempting to ignore the sweat trickling down the nape of your neck.
However, this is what all interviewees go through, right?
Well, no actually, according to a new study which has found that women are given a tougher time during interviews and are interrupted more than men.
The study, published last week in the journal of Social Sciences (reported by The Telegraph), found that men are twice as likely to interject while speaking to a woman.
However, when a man is interrupted mid-sentence, it is "generally more positive and affirming," which suggests there's still a serious gender imbalance in top jobs (in case you weren't already aware of that).
The research involved analyzing job interviews at two leading universities–University of California and University of Southern California–over a two-year-period, and found that women were questioned more by hiring panels, which was thought to make the candidates more likely to rush and panic during presentations.
The results also found that there's a "prove it again" attitude displayed towards women.
On average, women faced up to five questions in which they were interrupted by the interviewer, while male candidates only faced four.
Women were also asked two more follow-up questions, and 17 in total–at least three more than their male counterparts—which meant they spent a "higher proportion" of their time batting off queries.
"Questions piled on to previous questions… may indicate a challenge to the presenter's competence–not only in their prepared talk but also in their response to questions," the report found.
Suggesting women were caught in a catch-22 situation, the report added: "Even shortlisted women with impressive CVs may still be assumed to be less competent, are challenged, sometimes excessively, and therefore have less time to present a coherent and compelling talk."
"[These] subtle conversational patterns…form an almost invisible bias, which allows a climate of challenging women's competence to persist," it continued.
While the study didn't analyze whether more questions were of any use to female candidates, video recordings revealed that "verbal cues...clearly indicate that they [women] are rushing to get through their carefully prepared slide decks and reach the punchline of their talk."
As a result, many of the female interviewees frequently said phrases such as "for the sake of time, I'm going to skip this part," "there's not much time left; I will rush through this," and "I'm going really quick here because I want to get to the second part of the talk."
Therefore, it is believed there was a clear link between the number of questions women were faced with and their tendency to rush through their presentations.
The Annual Report To Congress On White House Office Personnel also found that women earned an average of 20 percent less than male employees.
*Bangs head on desk*
Katie O’Malley is the Deputy Digital Editor, at ELLE UK. On a daily basis you’ll find her managing all digital workflow, editing site, video and social media content, liaising with commercial and sales teams on new partnerships and deals, implementing new digital strategies and compiling endless data traffic, SEO and ecomm reports. Since joining in 2016, Katie has written features on everything from sex addiction, and the use of tear gas during protests to virtual cuddling, ‘friendship fade’ and access to contraception post Brexit. Her list of interviewees over the years include those with Oprah Winfrey, Benedict Cumberbatch, Reese Witherspoon, Emma Stone, Zoe Kravitz etc.
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