The main purpose of this study is to investigate whether applicants' impression management (IM) tactics indirectly influence hiring recommendations through cognitive mechanisms (i.e. recruiters' perceptions of person–organisation [P–O] fit, person–job [P–J] fit, and person–recruiter [P–R] fit) or affective mechanisms (i.e. recruiters' positive mood) during authentic employment interviews for actual job openings. Participants consisted of 221 applicant–recruiter dyads from 50 companies in Taiwan. The results demonstrated that applicants' self-focused IM tactics are positively related to recruiter perceptions of P–J fit, which in turn influence hiring recommendations. In addition, applicant other-focused IM tactics affect hiring recommendations through recruiters' perceptions of P–O fit. Moreover, applicants' non-verbal IM tactics were positively related to recruiters' positive mood, which in turn affected recruiters' perceptions of P–J fit and P–O fit, thereby affecting hiring recommendations.