A growing literature demonstrates that when making choices among multiple options, decision makers are strongly influenced by the mere presence of additional options, even when those options are largely undesirable and are never actually selected. The effects of irrelevant options on decisions, often called decoy effects, have been observed in hiring and admissions decisions where the nature of a third candidate can radically shift preferences. In this study, we examine the influence of decoy effects on diversity hiring and extend research by examining choices with more than two organizational goals. Results indicate that the presence of a second candidate who meets diversity goals markedly increases how frequently decision makers indicate that they would make an offer to diverse candidates. This effect occurs even when decision makers must sacrifice some credential quality to obtain the diverse candidate. Overall, diverse candidates are more likely to receive offers when more than one diversity candidate is included in the finalist pool. The practical implications are clear: When a major organizational goal is to increase diversity, a policy that includes evaluating multiple diverse candidates in a final applicant slate should be considered.

Corresponding Author Information

Nathan R. Kuncel


75 East River Road University of Minnesota Minneapolis, MN 55455



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