Applicant impression management in job interview: The moderating role of interviewer affectivity


should be addressed to Professor Chien-Cheng Chen, 1, Section 3, Chung-Hsiao E. Road, Taipei 10608, Taiwan, ROC (e-mail:


In light of the organizational need to obtain talented personnel, an appropriate evaluation of applicant behaviour in the selection interview is crucial. Extending past research on applicant use of impression management (IM) tactics, this study examines the effects of a broad set of IM tactics in a field setting, and also investigates the moderating roles of two rarely tested interviewer characteristics: interviewer positive affectivity (PA) and negative affectivity (NA). Due to the nested nature of the data, consisting of 142 job applicants and 33 interviewers, we adopt hierarchical linear modelling (HLM) to examine the proposed hypotheses. The results indicate that three IM tactics (self-focused IM, SFIM; other-focused IM, OFIM; and non-verbal IM, NVIM) are significantly positively related to interviewer evaluations. Furthermore, interviewer PA appears to strengthen the positive effects of SFIM tactics on interviewer evaluations, while the effects of NVIM tactics may be weaker when interviewers are high in NA. In addition, these findings suggest the importance of interviewer trait affectivity in explaining interviewer's decision-making variability, which may lead to low inter-rater reliability and in turn restrict the level of achievable validity.