Sociological research on labor markets has focused most of its attention on the supply side of the labor market, that is, the characteristics of job seekers and job incumbents. Despite its pivotal and we believe primary role in labor market processes, the demand side, in particular the hiring decisions made by employers, has received less attention. The employment relationship, however, comprises both the demand and supply sides, as well as the matching processes that bring these together. We consider the sociology of the demand side by considering three sources of information (human, social, and cultural capital) that employers charged with making hiring decisions seek out, as well as the mechanisms associated with each source. We conceptualize employers as active agents whose hiring behavior is both constrained and enabled by larger social, organizational, and institutional contexts. We call for a program of research that will lead to a fuller empirical and theoretical understanding of employer hiring behavior and its place in the stratifying of labor markets.


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