Factors Determining Callbacks to Job Applications by the Unemployed: An Audit Study
We use an audit study approach to investigate how unemployment duration, age, and holding a low-level “interim” job affect the likelihood that experienced college-educated females applying for an administrative support job receive a callback from a potential employer. First, the results show no relationship between callback rates and the duration of unemployment. Second, workers age 50 and older are significantly less likely to receive a callback. Third, taking an interim job significantly reduces the likelihood of receiving a callback. Finally, employers who have higher callback rates respond less to observable differences across workers in determining whom to call back. We interpret these results in the context of a model of employer learning about applicant quality.
The authors thank the Sloan Foundation for financial support. They also thank Joanna Lahey, Matthew Notowidigdo, and participants in workshops at CREST, Princeton University, Russell Sage Foundation, Sloan Foundation and UCLA for helpful comments and discussion. The views expressed herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Bureau of Economic Research.