Academic journal article Journal of Managerial Issues

The Impact of Raters' Level and Type of Sports Experiences on Inferences Drawn from Resumes

Academic journal article Journal of Managerial Issues

The Impact of Raters' Level and Type of Sports Experiences on Inferences Drawn from Resumes

Article excerpt

Approximately 420,000 students annually participate in collegiate sports in the United States (Zgonc, 2010); the majority of these athletes do not continue to play at a professional level. "Retirement" from collegiate athletics typically occurs upon graduation and then collegiate athletes attempt to make their transition to full-time employment, most often competing for the same opportunities as their peers in the job market. They frequently lack work experiences--such as internships--that are typically highly valued by the people who review their resumes (Wilkin and Connelly, 2012). Even if they are able to participate in an internship or other direct professional experiences during their college careers, the time and effort required of collegiate athletics likely puts them at a disadvantage--they may lack both depth and breadth of experiences compared to others in the job market. If other college graduates who do not play sports are viewed as having deeper or broader direct work experiences, it may lead to a variety of negative outcomes for college athletes in the job search process. For example, the job search process may take longer or the candidate may be offered jobs below his or her true skill level. In addition, the applicant may not be hired (or even considered for) a job for which he or she is well qualified. This issue can have an impact during the first step in the employment process, which typically involves some member of the hiring organization reviewing the candidate's resume and deciding whether or not to pass it on and move the candidate to the next step in the selection process. The backgrounds and experiences of the individuals conducting these initial reviews can vary widely. For some organizations, this person might be an experienced HR professional. For others it might be the hiring manager that the candidate will report to or some other representative responsible for screening candidates. Whoever is charged with this task, often the person making selection decisions relies heavily on his/her intuition in forming a judgment. Lodato et al. (2011) have noted that both HR professionals and line managers often resist a more standardized selection process, preferring instead to rely on their intuition. Several researchers (Fumham, 2008; Rynes et al, 2002) have also noted that HR practitioners often lack an understanding of state of the art staffing techniques (e.g., behavioral-based interviewing techniques and cognitive ability tests).

The evidence above suggests that the ability of the collegiate athlete to advance from the resume submission stage to further steps in the selection process will depend on the intuitive approach of the initial reviewer. One might assume that these approaches might vary depending on the relevant life experiences of the reviewer to the task at hand, which should contribute to formulating the reviewer's intuitive approach. While a great deal of recent research has focused on how different types of resume items --including participation in collegiate athletics--are perceived by reviewers (Tanguay et al., 2012), to the authors' knowledge, there is a lack of evidence on how one's life experiences impact perceptions of the resumes of collegiate athletes. This paper attempts to fill that void by examining how the level and type of sports experiences of resume reviewers impact their perceptions of the resumes of collegiate athletes.

Psychological Basis

There are a variety of well-developed psychological theories to explain how reviewers' sports experiences might impact their intuitive approach to screening the resumes of collegiate athletes. One such approach is the similar-attraction effect (Byrne, 1971). This is the idea that reviewers will react more positively to resumes of candidates with similar characteristics and experiences to their own. Research supports the idea that recruiters are more favorable to candidates similar to themselves (Anderson and Shackleton, 1990). …

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