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New study on class cues confirms suspicions on workplace diversity

(NEWS) New study evaluates the effects of class, race and gender on job applications.

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It’s best to be a rich, white guy in America. Also, water is wet

Newsflash, you guys: in America, rich men have the most fun, the best jobs, the most money – they’re basically winning, and doing it way more often than any of the rest of us. A new study by the Harvard Business Review reaffirms this unfortunate fact of life, and discusses specific ways in which class cues and gender can effect recruitment decisions.

The field experiment focused on the legal sector, and analyzed data based on four nearly identical (fake) resumes for four (fake) law students. The legal industry can be especially unforgiving to those who fail to emit some sort of elite pheromones.

The way of the world

If you’re at a top law school like Harvard or Yale, the recruiters swarm you. If you’re a top law firm, the students swarm you for internships. If you’re a student without a degree from a top school, or an internship with a top law firm, you’re probably out of luck unless you want to go into an “inferior” area like non-profit work. The legal profession has its own 1 percent, and it always has that new-suit smell.

Basically, if you want the big name and the big bucks, you better get that big internship.

But if you’re a woman or you didn’t grow up in a wealthy household, you probably have to be a whole lot better than everyone around you to even get an interview.

Proof is in the pudding

The Harvard Business Review created four sample resumes, sent out to 316 offices of 147 top law firms in 14 different cities. Each fake candidate attended the same school, earned the same awesome GPA, served on the law review, and listed the same work experiences. Gender was signaled by first name, and class status was signaled by things like awards, extracurriculars, and hobbies: Sailing vs. Track and Field, classical music vs. country music, athletic award vs. athletic award for those on financial aid, peer mentor for first year students vs. peer mentor for first-generation college students.

Unsurprisingly, the resumes bearing male first names and upper class hobbies fared significantly better than all others. In fact, the upper class male candidate received more interview invitations than all other candidates combined.Click To Tweet

Slightly more surprising was the fact that being wealthy didn’t seem to make up for being a woman. The lower class female and male candidates each received more interview invitations than the upper class counterpart, making rich women the least desirable candidates of the four.

Why was having money hurting women’s chances?

The HBR conducted a second experiment to investigate. They sent the same four resumes out to 200 practicing attorneys nationwide, asking each attorney to assess one of the resumes to determine whether they’d like to interview them. They also asked each attorney to rate the candidate on relevant factors based on perception, which are proven to vary between men and women, like competence, likeability, organizational fit, and career commitment.

As before, the upper-class, male candidate was everyone’s favorite. The survey found that attorneys perceived both higher-class candidates as better fits with the (high class) culture and customers of the top firms.

But higher-class women were viewed as less committed to working a demanding job.

That means these attorneys, and 20 more individually interviewed attorneys, believe women are more likely to leave a job for an easier role, or for “family” reasons.

Beating a dead horse. (Not really, chill PETA)

That’s right, you guys. Because women are capable of growing, birthing, and parenting children, their plates are already full, or might, you know, eventually sometime in the future be full enough? And upper class women probably already have enough money, right? So why on earth would they ever choose to pursue a career? Just another example of women behaving illogically, I guess…

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The HBR study ultimately cites intersectionality as an explanation for their findings: “When it comes to understanding sources of advantage and disadvantage, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.” Like everything else in the labor market, privilege works differently for men and women.

How do we fix it?

Well, if you’re an employer, you can request initials instead of full names, to mitigate gender bias. You can also forgo information like extra-curriculars and hobbies, which have more potential to reveal class cues, though attendance at a top tier university will continue to send those signals.

As a candidate, you can also choose to omit this information on your resume, and to avoid listing awards and honors that might indicate class or background. But for many candidates, that would mean eliminating all or most of their impressive accomplishments. Everything’s a trade off, but if you’re after that 1 percent lifestyle, some tweaks might be worth making.

#SelectiveClassCues

Staff Writer, Natalie Bradford earned her B.A. in English from Cornell University and spends a lot of time convincing herself not to bake MORE brownies. She enjoys cats, cocktails, and good films - preferably together. She is currently working on a collection of short stories.

Business Marketing

Use the ‘Blemish Effect’ to skyrocket your sales

(MARKETING) The Blemish Effect dictates that small, adjacent flaws in a product can make it that much more interesting—is perfection out?

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Presenting a product or service in its most immaculate, polished state has been the strategy for virtually all organizations, and overselling items with known flaws is a practice as old as time. According to marketing researchers, however, this approach may not be the only way to achieve optimal results due to something known as the “Blemish Effect.”

The Blemish Effect isn’t quite the inverse of the perfectionist product pitch; rather, it builds on the theory that small problems with a product or service can actually throw into relief its good qualities. For example, a small scratch on the back of an otherwise pristine iPhone might draw one’s eye to the glossy finish, while an objectively perfect housing might not be appreciated in the same way.

The same goes for mildly bad press or a customer’s pros and cons list. If someone has absolutely no complaints or desires for whatever you’re marketing, the end result can look flat and lacking in nuance. Having the slightest bit of longing associated with an aspect (or lack thereof) of your business means that you have room to grow, which can be tantalizing for the eager consumer.

A Stanford study indicates that small doses of mildly negative information may actually strengthen a consumer’s positive impression of a product or service. Interesting.

Another beneficial aspect of the Blemish Effect is that it helps consumers focus their negativity. “Too good to be true” often means exactly that, and we’re eager to criticize where possible; if your product or service has a noticeable flaw which doesn’t harm the item’s use, your audience might settle for lamenting the minor flaw and favoring the rest of the product rather than looking for problems which don’t exist.

This concept also applies to expectation management. Absent an obvious blemish, it can be all to easy for consumers to envision your product or service on an unattainable level.

When they’re invariably disappointed that their unrealistic expectations weren’t fulfilled, your reputation might take a hit, or consumers might lose interest after the initial wave.

The takeaway is that consumers trust transparency, so in describing your offering, tossing in a negative boosts the perception that you’re being honest and transparent, so a graphic artist could note that while their skills are superior and their pricing reasonable, they take their time with intricate projects. The time expectation is a potentially negative aspect of their service, but expressing anything negative improves sales as it builds trust.

It should be noted that the Blemish Effect applies to minor impairments in cosmetic or adjacent qualities, not in the product or service itself. Delivering an item which is inherently flawed won’t make anyone happy.

In an age where less truly is more, the Blemish Effect stands to dictate a new wave of honesty in marketing.

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Business Marketing

Who’s teaching Gen Z to adapt to working with other generations

(BUSINESS MARKETING) Gen Z patch 1.1: How to work with other generations. The newest tech savy generation might need an update to work well with others

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We know the current work force is made up of a multitude of generations which is the first time so many have been working at the same time in history and this is should be absolutely fascinating to dig in to the research and how this drastically affects businesses.

To think how we each have our work ethic and style influenced by so many factors on how and when (and where) we were raised, plus what generation our parents were in and what was passed down to them from the generation before. Millennials received a lot of attention for being entitled and lazy. Gen X receive constant jokes that they are the forgotten generation. And let’s not forget the cringe-worthy “OK Boomer” meme theme recently.

Now we have moved on to Gen Z (b. ~ 1997-2012) in the work force and many are currently attending college. There were other considerations for their name: Gen Tech, Gen Wii, Net Gen, Digital Natives, Plurals, and Zoomers. If you google about them, there are many books to read about this generation that has never NOT known technology.

They are used to being seconds away to finding an answer on Google, sending their current status to friends via a fun picture or video and learning anything they want to learn via their laptop (for example on YouTube, LinkedIn Learning, Google online courses, Udemy, Teachable, among others). They are no strangers to businesses evolving to continue to be consumer-minded and have an app for that when it comes to convenience like: ordering your coffee before you get there, order a ride from no matter where you are, order your groceries online and pick them up outside the grocery store or (gasp!) even have them delivered to you via some other third-party app. And let’s not forget, there better be Wi-Fi on the plane.

There are a lot of wonderful things about every generation and maybe some things we all contribute to regarding stereotypes. No matter age, experience or style, it’s key to learn about the people you are working with (peers, supervisors, leadership teams) or if you are an entrepreneur and business owner: your customers and any differences needed for them (should you be on Tik Tok? Is Instagram still where it’s at? How do you add online appointments to your site? Do you need an app for that?).

In this world of instant gratification, we have all adapted to the conveniences of technology so why would this new generation be any different. There’s been research shared with how they shop and even how they learn. Is anyone teaching them about those that came before them when they enter the work force or look to gain professional experience working with entrepreneurs, startups or small business owners?

I’d like to recommend taking a look at Lindsey Pollak’s research, read or listen (thank you, Audible) to her latest book, The Remix, How to Lead and Succeed in the Multigenerational Workplace and even her new podcast, The Work Remix, for any limited on time or attention span. It is really powerful how she is able to easily translate lots of research in to actionable items (let’s bring back apprenticeships! Skip the ping pong table for more time in nature!). She is kind and provides refreshing ideas on how to adapt our work styles to others as well as what is important in the workforce. She is also really against generational shaming. ALL OF IT. And that’s beautiful.

So, before we roll our eyes and throw a generational comment at someone, can we get to know each other better and be flexible and adaptable in how we find and work toward our common goals? For one, I’m excited working with iGen and am always asking myself (as a loud and proud Gen Xer) how I can adapt or meet their learning styles. All in fun, I do wish they would read my emails but I might have to let that go and get more used to text.

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Business Marketing

Malomo helps online retailers keep up with retail giants

(BUSINESS MARKETING) With giant companies like amazon able to offer free shipping, and super fast arrival times, how can a smaller company keep up?

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When Amazon is out here offering two-day shipping on all kinds of products from televisions to toothbrushes, ordering something from a smaller online retailer can have an almost humbling effect.

When faced with a basic UPS tracking number and shipping email, you realize how accustomed you’ve gotten to receiving play-by-play shipping information and a little photograph of your package when it arrives at your front step.

People have come to expect a lot from their online shopping experience. Huge online retailers, like Amazon, are crafting these expectations as another strategy to edge out competition. It’s all by design. So, how are smaller companies supposed to keep up with this demand?

Online retailers need tools that allow them to compete with the big boys and Malomo is here to help. Malomo is a shipment tracking platform designed for ecommerce marketers who want to level up their customer experience. Their mission is to help brands build authentic relationships with customers. Their platform allows online retailers to keep their customers up-to-date with shipping information using a beautiful branded platform.

Malomo could be a game changer for online retailers looking to build a more faithful customer base. Malomo’s platform can do so much more than send tracking information. The platform adds another layer to the customer journey by letting you create a digital space where your business can continue to build that customer brand connection.

Online retailers can use the platform to inform customers if there are any issues with their order such as a late shipment or a problem with an item. The platform can also be used to advertise other products, educate customers about the brand, or send targeted coupons.

In addition to offering a beautiful platform, Malomo provides online retailers with valuable analytics on customer behavior such as click-through rates on tracking information. Malomo integrates with popular ecommerce platforms such as Shopify making it a smooth addition to your overall strategy.

By integrating these ecommerce tools online retailers can harness the power of data to improve their customer experience, drive future sales, and keep up with customer demands for a world-class shipping experience.

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