Promoting Diversity but Striving for Excellence: Opening the ‘Black Box’ of Academic Hiring
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Scholars have described how neutral routines and ‘objective’ criteria in recruitment may result in an institutional preference for certain types of candidates. This article advances the literature on recruitment by conducting an in-depth study of how the criteria for assessing quality are applied in practice in the recruitment process. Through an in-depth study of 48 recruitment cases for permanent academic positions in Norway and 52 qualitative interviews with the recruiters involved, we stress the need to grasp how evaluation is embedded in the organisational process of recruitment. By constructing an ideal type of recruitment process comprising five different steps, we show that despite evaluators including diversity concerns in their search for talent during the first stages of the recruitment process, they end up deploying narrow criteria that tend to favour men in the crucial steps of the recruitment process, in which hiring outcomes are determined.