Society and Workplace Diversity Research Group

Immigrants and the job interview

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The job interview may present a significant bottleneck for immigrants entering the job market. The project, titled "The Job Interview as an Arena for Competency Evaluation in a Multicultural Society," explored how immigrants present their qualifications during job interviews and how this presentation influenced the interviewer's evaluation of the candidate. The study includes interviews with leaders and immigrants, along with two experimental studies conducted funded by the research unit of The Norwegian Labor and Welfare Service. Leaders participating in the interviews expressed positive attitudes toward employing immigrants, particularly when there was a demand for international competence or specific skills. However, a misalignment in expectations regarding the job interview itself was observed between leaders and some immigrant groups. Immigrants commonly expected the interview to focus on their professional qualifications, while leaders tended to emphasize personal suitability and honesty in acknowledging weaknesses. The informal atmosphere and personal tone in the interview setting posed a challenge for many immigrants. In the two experimental studies, leaders viewed video clips of three applicants, with one applicant's ethnicity, self-representation, and acculturation strategy manipulated. The findings revealed that the applicant's ethnicity did not directly impact the leaders' assessments. However, the extent to which applicants presented themselves as integrated or assimilated did influence assessments. Applicants who appeared less integrated or assimilated were rejected, even when possessing superior professional qualifications. In conclusion, the results underscore the critical importance of immigrants' understanding of and adjustment to Norwegian culture for their successful entry into the job market. Follow the links below to read more about the results.