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The Interactive Effect of Impression Motivation and Cognitive Schema on Self-Presentation in a Personality Inventory


  • The authors thank Eveline H. Stadelmann and Yvonne Brutschy for their help with data collection.

Anne Jansen, Department of Psychology, University of Zurich, Binzmühlestrasse 14/12, CH-8050 Zurich, Switzerland or Cornelius J. König, Universität des Saarlandes, AE Arbeits- und Organisationspsychologie, Campus A1 3, D-66123 Saarbrücken, Germany. E-mail: or


Applicants usually try to put their best foot forward during personnel selection. Although past research has revealed meaningful individual differences in applicants' self-presentation in personality tests (often called “faking”), it only concentrated on main effects and ignored the interaction of interindividual and intraindividual differences. Based on impression management theory, we hypothesized that interindividual differences in applicants' impression motivation interact with intraindividual differences in the perceived relevance of personality facets (applicants' cognitive schema). Results of hierarchical linear modeling analyses showed that both impression motivation and cognitive schema significantly affected self-presentation. Furthermore, for participants with high levels of impression motivation, cognitive schema showed a stronger impact on self-presentation than for those with low levels of impression motivation.