A team of research assistants will search major job posting websites (Indeed, Monster, Craigslist, etc.) for occupation vacancies in a selection of United States CBSAs. When an appropriate job posting is found, a pair of fictitious, randomized, matched, formatted resumes will be generated and sent in in response. To reduce cost, job postings will only be applied to if the application process involves uploading a resume PDF and answering simple, standardized questions that can be easily determined from the randomized resume (e.g., how many years of relevant experience do you have?) or that can have a standard general response (e.g., can you reliably commute to work at this location?—yes). When applying, information on job posting, employer, and resume characteristics will be recorded in an encrypted database.
Resume characteristics (name, pronouns, objective, work experience, education, skills, certifications) are randomly generated using a program from Lahey and Beasley (2009). During randomization, some characteristics will be matched same (i.e., if the first resume is randomly assigned characteristic A, then the matched pair will also be given characteristic A) and other characteristics matched different (i.e., if the first resume is randomly assigned characteristic A, then the matched pair will be randomly assigned a characteristic aside from A). The characteristic of interest is pronouns, where the research objective is to determine whether similar applicants with different pronoun disclosures receive different positive employer response rates. Once resume content is generated for the matched pair, each will be randomly given one of two possible resume formats.
Employer response will be carefully tracked via phone and email. For each CBSA, two phone lines will be set up using an area code local to the area. To limit fraud detection by email providers and job boards, there are in total two female names and two male names used in each state (e.g., all matched resume pairs in Colorado where the name-implied sex is female will use the same two names). Emails are specific to names, and each name will always use the same phone number when applying in a given city. As a result, with 12 names, 12 emails will be set up in total. Phone voicemails and emails will be monitored on an ongoing basis to identify applications which receive a positive employer response.