To read this content please select one of the options below:

Perceived interviewee anxiety and performance in telephone interviews

Debora Jeske (Department of Psychology, University College Cork, Cork, Ireland)
Kenneth S. Shultz (Department of Psychology, California State University, San Bernardino, San Bernardino, California, USA)
Sarah Owen (Department of Psychology, Northumbria University, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK)

Evidence-based HRM

ISSN: 2049-3983

Article publication date: 10 September 2018

Issue publication date: 2 October 2018




The purpose of this paper is to focus on the role of interviewee anxiety as a predictor of perceived hireability (Study 1, n=82) and job suitability (Study 2, n=74).


Using an experimental design, participants were randomly allocated to one of two conditions (an audio recording of either a confident or anxious job candidate with identical scripts) and asked to take the role of an interviewer.


The anxious interviewee (played by an actor) was consistently rated as less hireable (in a combined sample based on Studies and 2), less suitable to the job and received less favorable hiring recommendations (as assessed in Study 2) than the confident interviewee (played by the same actor).

Research limitations/implications

The study was conducted with students who may have less interview experience than experienced interviewers.

Practical implications

The results suggest that anxiety has a negative biasing effect on perceived hireability and job suitability ratings. In other words, the behavioral manipulation of anxiety affects hireability ratings, independent of any subjective assessment of anxiety.


The findings provide evidence of an anxiety bias in telephone interview settings. The results highlight the importance of considering anxiety cues when training employment interviewers.



The authors gratefully acknowledge the support of two professional actors, the Department of Psychology and Phil Capewell at Northumbria University in the production of the interview materials. The authors would also like to thank the participants for their support of this study. Finally, the authors appreciate the feedback and helpful suggestions that are received from Sonia Lippke, Donna Garcia and the reviewers of Evidence-based HRM.


Jeske, D., Shultz, K.S. and Owen, S. (2018), "Perceived interviewee anxiety and performance in telephone interviews", Evidence-based HRM, Vol. 6 No. 3, pp. 320-332.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2018, Emerald Publishing Limited

Related articles