When Physical Disabilities Are Not Liabilities: The Role of Applicant and Interviewer Characteristics on Employment Interview Outcomes


1Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Cynthia Nordstrom, Department of Psychology, Illinois State University, 435 DeGarmo, Campus Box 4620, Normal, IL 61790-4620.


An applied sample was randomly assigned to evaluate the credentials of a job candidate with or without a physical disability and whose interview responses varied in quality (positive vs. average vs. negative). In addition to making hiring decisions, participants completed a number of measures including the Marlowe-Crowne Social Desirability Scale (Crowne & Marlowe, 1964), the Interaction with Disabled Persons Scale (Gething, 1991), an interview comfort measure, and an EEOC knowledge quiz. Results consistently indicated that participants evaluated the job candidate with a disability more favorably than the job candidate without a disability. Data also indicated a relationship between participants' level of comfort when interacting with persons with disabilities and their interview evaluations of such individuals. Results are discussed in terms of their implications for diversity management.