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Comila Shahani-Denning - Hofstra University. Hempstead, NY, US

Comila Shahani-Denning Comila Shahani-Denning

Professor of Psychology; Director, M.A. Program in Industrial-Organizational Psychology | Hofstra University

Hempstead, NY, UNITED STATES

Expert in workplace issues and behavior, hiring practices, leadership development, human resource management

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Dr. Comila Shahani-Denning Named Secretary of the NY Metropolitan Assoc. of Applied Psychology loading image

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Comila Shahani-Denning  - Sexual Harassment in the Workplace

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Biography

Comila Shahani-Denning, Ph.D. is a professor of psychology and the director of the M.A. program in Industrial and Organizational Psychology at Hofstra University. Her research expertise focuses on employee selection, specifically how social media enhances or hinders recruitment and hiring. She also has conducted research on the effect of physical attractiveness and gender on hiring decisions. In addition, Dr. Shahani-Denning has examined cross-cultural differences in hiring and recruiting practices. She serves on the Executive Board of METRO (Metropolitan Association for Applied Psychologists), is a member of the Executive Board of COSI (Community of Organizational Sciences in India), and has served as adjunct professor of psychology at Renmin University, Beijing. Dr. Shahani-Denning has worked as a consultant for more than 20 years for organizations including: APT Metrics, Prometric, AT&T, Case Corporation, Long Island Board of Realtors, Mineola Youth and Family Services, Pass & Seymour, Rx Maxwell, St. Francis Hospital, and Thomas Cook .

Industry Expertise (4)

Professional Training and Coaching Social Media Research Human Resources

Areas of Expertise (11)

Use of Social Media in Hiring Office Politics Workplace Communication Psychology Public Speaking Organizational Development Leadership Development Workplace Behavior Human Resource Development Workplace Civility Sexual Harrassment in the Workplace

Education (3)

Rice University: PhD, Psychology 1988

Rice University: Masters, Pyschology 1986

St. Xavier University: Bachelors, Psychology 1983

Affiliations (2)

  • Treasurer: METRO New York Metropolitan Association of Applied Psychology
  • Member, Executive Board, COSI (Community of Organizational Sciences in India)

Media Appearances (5)

Harassment Claims Reshape the Workplace

WABC7-Eyewitness News  tv

2017-12-01

Dr. Comila Shahani-Denning discusses the impact on corporate America of the flood of high-profile sexual harassment cases in media, entertainment and politics, and the ways companies can prevent such behavior in the workplace.

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‘Pretty People Always Win’: Beauty Bias In The Workplace

Above the Law  online

2017-04-06

What is 'beauty bias'?
It is just as it sounds – workplace bias based upon appearance.
Professor Comila Shahani-Denning reviewed numerous studies and wrote of the “beauty is goodness” stereotype in cinema, which portrayed “attractive characters … more favorably than unattractive characters.” That is not limited to the cinema – “In the area of employment decision making, attractiveness also influences interviewers’ judgments of job applicants.”
Shahani-Denning also noted that, “Some evidence suggests that when the position being applied for is traditionally filled by a male, the reverse of the typical bias is found for female applicants: Attractive females are evaluated less favorably than unattractive females.”

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Hiring in the Age of Transparency

Workforce Magazine  online

2015-03-20

Social media has changed the recruitment game. But today’s era of transparency in talent acquisition requires greater attention to detail.
Some websites provide settings so recruiters can opt out of seeing certain content to prevent the likelihood of bias. Comila Shahani-Denning, an associate professor of psychology at Hofstra University and author of “LinkedIn and Recruitment: How Profiles Differ Across Occupations,” said LinkedIn allows recruiters to “turn off” access to some forms of content, like user photos, which can help prevent bias from creeping in.

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Employers Tend to Hire People They'd Like to Hang Out With

CNBC.com  online

2012-12-01

New research finds that that when it comes to choosing job candidates, employers place a heavy emphasis on finding people who are similar to them, and whose company they enjoy.
The findings didn't come as a surprise to Comila Shahani-Denning, an associate professor of industrial and organizational psychology at Hofstra University.
Shahani-Denning has done research on how being attractive can affect people's chances of getting jobs or commanding higher salaries. She's currently looking at how LinkedIn and other social media sites are affecting hiring decisions.
Because employers are looking for good cultural fits, jobseekers should be especially careful about the photos they post on sites like LinkedIn, and about the extracurricular activities they list and the groups they belong to. Those things can help you make a connection with an employer, but they can also exclude you from a potential job.
Shahani-Denning also cautioned that by hiring candidates similar to their current staff, employers miss out on people who might bring different perspectives or experiences to the workplace.
"My feeling is that although it's an attractive kind of tool to use, it can be dangerous," she said.

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Employers weed out job candidates with off-the-wall questions

Baltimore Sun  online

2012-07-16

Employers are inundated with resumes, and off-the-wall questions can be a way to find candidates who stand out and can think on their feet, employment experts say. Some employers, experts say, actually believe a quirky question will uncover a candidate's personality, or at least liven up a boring interview — albeit at the applicant's expense.
Comila Shahani-Denning, an associate professor of psychology at Hofstra University in Hempstead, N.Y., teaches future human resources professionals. She tells her students they will have only so much time with an applicant and advises them not to waste it with off-the-wall questions that have never been shown to predict job performance.
Shahani-Denning advises job seekers who are asked strange questions to try to steer the interview back to business. Ask the interviewer to explain how the question applies to the job so you can better respond to it, she says.

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Articles (5)

LinkedIn and recruitment: how profiles differ across occupations Employee Relations, 2014

Julie Zide, Ben Elman, Comila Shahani-Denning

The purpose this research is to identify the elements of a LinkedIn profile that hiring professionals focus on most, and then examine LinkedIn profiles in terms of these identified elements across different industries.

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An Examination of Attractiveness Biases in the Context of Hiring Through Social Networking Sites. Journal of Organizational Psychology, 2014

Lisa S. Paik, Comila Shahani-Denning, Rodger W.Griffeth

The impact of physical attractiveness and amount of information presented through LinkedIn was examined in this study. Participants recruited through the professional networking site, LinkedIn, were asked to look at one of six LinkedIn profiles and make judgments based on the information presented.

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Selection interviews: Role of interviewer warmth, interview structure, and interview outcome in applicants’ perceptions of organizations Consulting Psychology Journal: Practice and Research, 2013

Comila Shahani-Denning, Bonnie Farago, Julie S. Zide

This study examined reactions to different types of interviews. The main findings were a significant 3-way interaction found between interview outcome, interview structure, and warmth of the interviewer for accepting a job offer. Implications for organizational practice include incorporating interviewer warmth into the structured interview process, as well as hiring recruiters who demonstrate warm behaviors.

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Effect of Physical Attractiveness on Selection Decisions in India and the United States International Journal of Management, 2010

Comila Shahani-Denning, Purvi Dudhat, Roni Tevet and Nicole Andreoli

This study examined the influence of physical attractiveness on selection decisions in two very different cultures, namely the United States and India. Most of the research on attractiveness bias has been conducted in western cultures like the United States. India was chosen for comparison because India continues to grow strong in the global marketplace and it is important to understand how decisions are made in the Indian environment. This was the first study to compare the attractiveness bias in India and the United States.

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Physical Attractiveness Bias in Hiring: What Is Beautiful Is Good Hofstra Horizons, Spring 2003

Comila Shahani-Denning

Research examining attractiveness bias in hiring decisions is important because of the extensive use of subjective appraisals in employment decision making. Given the legislation prohibiting employment discrimination based on non-job-related factors such as race, gender, ethnicity, disability and age, it is interesting that there is no legislation regarding physical
attractiveness (Watkins & Johnston, 2000). Making hiring decisions based on non-job-related factors is detrimental to the overall organizational performance.

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