We want an applicant with x, y, z, qualities: how should we design and carry out the interview?
My research connects interview goals and interview design.
Does It Take Two to Tango? Examining How Applicants and Interviewers Adapt Their Impression Management to Each Other
Although research has long examined applicants’ use of impression management (IM) behaviors in the interview, interviewers’ IM has only been recently investigated, and no research has attempted to combine both. The aim of this research was to examine whether and how applicants and interviewers adapt their IM to one another. To answer this question, we bring together IM, signaling theory, and the concept of adjacency pairs from linguistics, and carried out two studies. Study 1 was an observational study with field data (N = 30 interviews including a total of 6290 turns of speech by interviewers and applicants). Results showed that both applicants and interviewers are more likely to engage in IM in a way that can be considered as a “preferred” (vs. “dispreferred”) response pattern. That is, self-focused IM is particularly likely to occur as a response to other-focused IM, other-focused IM as a response to self-focused IM, and job/organization-focused IM as a response to job/organization-focused IM. In study 2, we used a within-subjects design to experimentally manipulate interviewer IM and examine its impact on (N = 120) applicants’ IM behaviors during the interview. Applicants who engaged more in “preferred” IM responses were evaluated as performing better in the interview by external raters. However, “preferred” IM responses were not associated with any other interview outcomes. Altogether, our findings highlight the adaptive nature of interpersonal influence in employment interviews, and call for more research examining the dynamic interactions between interviewers and applicants.
Wilhelmy, A., Roulin, N., & Wingate, T. G. (2020). Does it take two to tango? Examining how applicants and interviewers adapt their impression management to each other. Journal of Business and Psychology, 35, 1-24. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10869-020-09720-5
Liar at first sight? Early impressions and interviewer judgments, attributions, and false perceptions of faking
Research suggests that early impressions influence employment interview outcomes. A highly controlled experiment examined the effects of pre-interview qualifications information and early applicant impression management behavior on interviewers’ early impressions and, in turn, applicant outcomes. Mock interviewers (N = 247) judged the same applicant with a poorer pre-interview qualification ranking to be a poorer performer, but also perceived the applicant to have faked (deceived) more, and considered the applicant less likeable, less competent, less dedicated, and more conceited. Early applicant impression management behavior did not consistently contribute to interviewers’ early impressions, or to perceptions and judgments. Overall, these findings suggest that early applicant information can affect interviewer cognitions and judgments through the formation of early impressions.
Wingate, T. G., & Bourdage, J. S. (2019). Liar at first sight? Early impressions and interviewer judgments, attributions, and false perceptions of faking. Journal of Personnel Psychology, 18, 177-188. https://doi.org/10.1027/1866-5888/a000232
Who is conducting “better” employment interviews? Antecedents of structured interview components use
The employment interview remains a unique paradox. On the one hand, decades of research demonstrate that using more structured components (e.g., question consistency, evaluation standardization) can largely improve the psychometric properties of interviews. On the other hand, although interviews are almost universally used, many interviewers still resist using structured formats. We examined the use of seven structure components by 131 professional interviewers and their association with three types of antecedents: interviewers’ background (e.g., experience, training), the focus of the interview (selection vs. recruitment), and interviewers’ personality (based on the HEXACO model). Interviewers’ background (i.e., training) and the focus of the interview were largely associated with the use of question sophistication, question consistency, note taking, and evaluation standardization. Personality (i.e., extraversion) was mostly associated with rapport building and probing. Our findings highlight the importance of providing formal training to interviewers but suggest that attempting to eliminate less-structured components could encounter resistance from some interviewers.
Roulin, N., Bourdage, J. S., & Wingate, T. G. (2019). Who is conducting “better” employment interviews? Antecedents of structured interview components use. Personnel Assessment and Decisions, 5, 37-48. https://doi.org/10.25035/pad.2019.01.002
Wingate, T. G., Bourdage, J. S., Roulin, N., Wilhelmy, A., & Barron, A. (In 2020, May). Interviewer distrust and applicant competence as antecedents of interviewers’ perceptions of faking. Poster presentation for 80th Annual Canadian Psychological Association conference, Montreal, Canada. [Conference cancelled due to COVID-19]
Wilhelmy, A., Roulin, N., & Wingate, T. G. (2019, September). Impression Management von Interviewern und Bewerbern: Ein Wechselspiel? [Interviewer and Applicant Impression Management: An Interplay Between Them?]. Paper presented at the 11th Conference of the Work, Organizational, and Business Psychology Division of the German Association of Psychology in Braunschweig, Germany. (First author presented)
Wingate, T. G., & Bourdage, J. S. (2019, May). Aligning interview structure and goals, science and practice. Poster presentation for European Association of Work and Organizational Psychology conference, Turin, Italy.
Roulin, N., Bourdage, J. S., & Wingate, T. G. (2019, April). Antecedents and outcomes of using structured interview components. Oral presentation for 34th Annual Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology conference, Washington, United States. (First author presented)
Wilhelmy, A., Roulin, N., & Wingate, T. G. (2018, June). It takes two to tango! Examining applicant impression management as adaptations to interviewer impression management in interviews. Oral presentation to 5th Biennial Meeting of the European Network of Selection Researchers, Edinburgh, Scotland. (First author presented)
Wingate, T. G., & Bourdage, J. S. (2018, April). Liar at first sight? Early impressions and interviewer judgments, attributions, and perceptions. Oral presentation for 33rd Annual Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology conference, Chicago, United States.
Wingate, T. G., Wilhelmy, A., & Roulin, N. (2018, April). Integrating interviewer and applicant impression management. Oral presentation for 33rd Annual Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology conference, Chicago, United States.
Wingate, T. G., & Bourdage, J. S. (2017, May). An experimental look at the trajectory and outcomes of interviewers’ impressions. Poster presentation for European Association of Work and Organizational Psychology conference, Dublin, Ireland.
Bourdage, J. S. & Wingate, T. G. (2018, October). Fake it ‘till you make it? Understanding Faking Behavior and Perceptions in Job Interviews. Calgary Nerd Nite, Calgary, Canada.
Timothy G Wingate
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