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Disability and influence in job interviews

Mason Ameri (Rutgers Business School, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, New Jersey, USA)
Terri Kurtzberg (Department of Management and Global Business, Rutgers Business School, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, New Jersey, USA)
Lisa Schur (Department of Labor Studies and Employment Relations, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, New Jersey, USA)
Douglas Kruse (School of Management and Labor Relations, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, New Jersey, USA)

International Journal of Conflict Management

ISSN: 1044-4068

Article publication date: 3 September 2020

Issue publication date: 6 April 2021

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Abstract

Purpose

This purpose of this paper is to explore to efficacy of influence tactics at the outset of a job interview. Across three empirical studies, five influence tactics were manipulated during a simulated job interview to explore first impressions for candidates with or without a visible disability.

Design/methodology/approach

Participants viewed videos of candidates (either in a wheelchair or not) responding to the opening question in a job interview by using one of five influence tactics (i.e. revealing a strong alternative, setting a numerical anchor, demonstrating approachability through imperfections, presenting hard skills that described job-related competencies or presenting soft skills including connecting well with and leading others). Perceptions of trustworthiness, fit for the current job and perceived appropriate salary amount were rated.

Findings

Results show that, in general, tactics that might have beneficial effects when used at later moments, including the use of a strong alternate, anchor or imperfection display, may instead harm first impressions of anyone. When discussing specific skills, hard skills helped in both cases. However, the presentation of soft skills helped only the non-disabled job candidate. Trustworthiness acted as a mediator for most of these relationships in both populations.

Originality/value

Results provide insight into how the use of these tactics very early in an interaction unfolds. Further, parsing the use of influence tactics into their effects on specific populations (such as people with disabilities) allows us to better understand the conditions under which they may help or hurt perceptions of employability.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

The author thank the Rutgers Business School and the School of Management and Labor Relations at Rutgers University for their financial support of this research, and Sanghoon Kang, Daniel Levin, Oliver Sheldon and Alex Van Zant for helpful comments on an earlier draft.

Funding: Funding was provided by Rutgers Business School and the School of Management and Labor Relations at Rutgers University, New Brunswick, New Jersey, USA.

Citation

Ameri, M., Kurtzberg, T., Schur, L. and Kruse, D. (2021), "Disability and influence in job interviews", International Journal of Conflict Management, Vol. 32 No. 2, pp. 266-291. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJCMA-04-2020-0070

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2020, Emerald Publishing Limited