Self-Presentation in Job Interviews: When There Can Be “Too Much of a Good Thing”1


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    The author wishes to express his sincere thanks to Jodi Levin and Kathleen O'Meara for their assistance in collection of the data, and to Howard Weiss for his insightful comments on an earlier draft of this paper.

Requests for reprints should be sent to Robert A. Baron, Department of Psychological Sciences, Purdue University, W. Lafayette, IN 47907.


Male and female subjects interviewed female applicants for an entry-level management position. The applicants were actually confederates of the researcher who engaged or did not engage in two different tactics of self-presentation: the emission of many positive nonverbal cues and the use of one popular grooming aid (perfume). It was predicted that alone, each of these tactics would enhance ratings assigned to the applicants. However, together, they would induce negative reactions among interviewers (e.g., attributions of manipulativeness to the applicant). It was further hypothesized that such reactions would be stronger among male than among female interviewers. Finally, it was predicted that the two self-presentational tactics investigated would affect interviewers' memory for information presented by the applicants. Results offered support for all of these hypotheses.