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Honest and Deceptive Impression Management in the Employment Interview: Can It Be Detected and How Does It Impact Evaluations?


  • The authors thank Sophie Althaus, Giuseppina Colella, Marta Duda, Stephanie Hamida, Chloe Luu, Rosalie Muriset, and Julien Theler for their help with the data collection.


Applicants use honest and deceptive impression management (IM) in employment interviews. Deceptive IM is especially problematic because it can lead organizations to hire less competent but deceptive applicants if interviewers are not able to identify the deception. We investigated interviewers’ capacity to detect IM in 5 experimental studies using real-time video coding of IM (N = 246 professional interviewers and 270 novice interviewers). Interviewers’ attempts to detect applicants’ IM were often unsuccessful. Interviewers were better at detecting honest than deceptive IM. Interview question type affected IM detection, but interviewers’ experience did not. Finally, interviewers’ perceptions of IM use by applicants were related to their evaluations of applicants’ performance in the interview. Interviewers’ attempts to adjust their evaluations of applicants they perceive to use deceptive IM may fail because they cannot correctly identify when applicants actually engage in various IM tactics. Helping interviewers to better identify deceptive IM tactics used by applicants may increase the validity of employment interviews.