Costly Mistakes: Why and When Spelling Errors in Resumes Jeopardise Interview Chances

46 Pages Posted: 11 Aug 2021

See all articles by Philippe Sterkens

Philippe Sterkens

Ghent University

Ralf Caers

KU Leuven

Marijke De Couck

Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB)

Michael Geamanu

Ghent University

Victor Van Driessche

Ghent University

Stijn Baert

Ghent University; University of Antwerp; Catholic University of Louvain (UCL); Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA)

Abstract

Earlier research has associated spelling errors in resumes with reduced hiring chances. However, the analysis of hiring penalties due to spelling errors has thus far been restricted to white-collar occupations and relatively high numbers of errors per resume. Moreover, the mechanisms underlying the spelling error penalty have remained unclear. To fill these gaps in the peerreviewed literature, we conducted a scenario experiment with 445 genuine recruiters. Results show that, compared to error-free resumes, hiring penalties are being inflicted for both error-laden resumes (18.5 percent points lower interview probability) and resumes with fewer errors (7.3 percent points lower interview probability). Furthermore, we find substantial heterogeneity in penalties inflicted based on various applicant, job and participant characteristics. About half of the spelling error penalty can be explained by the perception that applicants who make spelling errors have lower interpersonal skills (9.0%), conscientiousness (12.1%) and mental abilities (32.2%).

JEL Classification: C91, I21, J24

Suggested Citation

Sterkens, Philippe and Caers, Ralf and De Couck, Marijke and Geamanu, Michael and Van Driessche, Victor and Baert, Stijn, Costly Mistakes: Why and When Spelling Errors in Resumes Jeopardise Interview Chances. IZA Discussion Paper No. 14614, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3900876 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3900876

Philippe Sterkens (Contact Author)

Ghent University ( email )

Coupure Links 653
Gent, 9000
Belgium

Ralf Caers

KU Leuven ( email )

Oude Markt 13
Leuven, 3000
Belgium

Marijke De Couck

Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB) ( email )

Pleinlaan 2
http://www.vub.ac.be/
Brussels, 1050
Belgium

Michael Geamanu

Ghent University

Coupure Links 653
Gent, 9000
Belgium

Victor Van Driessche

Ghent University

Coupure Links 653
Gent, 9000
Belgium

Stijn Baert

Ghent University ( email )

University of Antwerp ( email )

Prinsstraat 13
Antwerp, 2000
Belgium

HOME PAGE: http://https://www.uantwerpen.be/nl/personeel/stijn-baert/

Catholic University of Louvain (UCL) ( email )

Place Montesquieu, 3
Louvain-la-Neuve, 1348
Belgium

HOME PAGE: http://https://www.uclouvain.be/en-309318.html

Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) ( email )

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

HOME PAGE: http://www.iza.org/en/webcontent/personnel/photos/index_html?key=6832

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