Monday, May 12, 2008

Optimizing the Yin and Yang

Do gender stereotypes accurately forecast career preferences and job performance? To the extent that they do, can candidates escape being boxed in by their gender?

A Wall Street Journal survey of corporate recuriters who visit M.B.A. schools suggests the answer is "yes" to both.
…Recruiters in the survey emphatically praised female graduates as insightful, conscientious and collegial, and they consistently described men as results-driven leaders with superior quantitative-analysis skills. "Sadly, my general observation is that many gender stereotypes still apply," a survey respondent commented. "Female M.B.A.s have a bias to nurturing and team building and male M.B.A.s to a more analytically driven focus on success and independence. My advice is that both should develop more well-rounded skills.
The good news is, such perceptions provide a clear career-upgrade road map for both men and women. Female candidates can practice being just a little bolder and more self-promoting, and fight perceptions that they're mathematically challenged. And recruiters quoted in the survey story indicated many male candidates would do well to be more humble during interviews, and work on their listening skills, both on the job and while interviewing. "Some guys take themselves out of the running in job interviews by coming on a little too strong," observed a hiring manager for Chicago-based Tribune Publishing, who took part in the survey.

Those insights and others are detailed in a WSJ CareerJournal story originally published in 2005, but reprinted this year.

Men Do Numbers,Women Do Strategy [CareerJournal]

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