Delegation in Hiring: Evidence from a Two-Sided Audit

127 Pages Posted: 21 May 2020 Last revised: 22 Mar 2021

See all articles by Bo Cowgill

Bo Cowgill

Columbia University - Columbia Business School

Patryk Perkowski

Columbia University - Columbia Business School

Date Written: April 25, 2020

Abstract

Firms increasingly delegate job screening to third parties. Outsourced recruiters introduce agency issues that can distort worker/employer matching. We present a simple model illustrating the tension between recruiters' use of private information about candidate preferences, and reputational incentives to impress employers. We then execute a novel two-sided audit experiment by directly engaging recruiting intermediaries. We show that agents' career concerns strongly shape selection decisions. Recruiters over-interview employer-favored candidates unlikely to reciprocate interest, while under-select candidates with stronger mutual interest. By changing outside offers, recruiters' career concerns affect candidates' negotiating leverage. We conclude by discussing extensions of our audit methodology.

Keywords: Hiring, intermediaries, discrimination, field experiments

JEL Classification: J71, M51, C95

Suggested Citation

Cowgill, Bo and Perkowski, Patryk, Delegation in Hiring: Evidence from a Two-Sided Audit (April 25, 2020). Columbia Business School Research Paper No. 898, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3584919 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3584919

Bo Cowgill (Contact Author)

Columbia University - Columbia Business School ( email )

3022 Broadway
New York, NY 10027
United States

Patryk Perkowski

Columbia University - Columbia Business School ( email )

3022 Broadway
New York, NY 10027
United States

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