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Interviewers' perceptions of impression management in employment interviews

Nicolas Roulin (Faculty of Business and Economics, University of Lausanne, Lausanne, Switzerland)
Adrian Bangerter (Institute of Work and Organizational Psychology, University of Neuchatel, Neuchatel, Switzerland)
Julia Levashina (College of Business Administration, Kent State University, Kent, Ohio, USA)

Journal of Managerial Psychology

ISSN: 0268-3946

Article publication date: 4 February 2014




Applicants often use impression management (IM) in employment interviews, and such tactics can considerably influence interviewers' evaluations of their performance. Yet, little research has examined interviewers' perceptions of such behaviors. This paper aims to examine if interviewers' perceptions of various IM behaviors converge with applicants' self-reports and the impact of interviewers' IM perceptions on interview outcomes.


Findings are based on data from a field study of 164 real employment interviews, conducted in recruiting agencies in Switzerland.


Interviewers' perceptions do not converge with self-reported applicant IM. Interviewers' perceptions of self-promotion and perceived applicant transparency are positively related to interview evaluations, while perceptions of slight image creation tactics are negatively related to interview evaluations. Perceptions of deceptive ingratiation, image protection, and extensive image creation were not related to evaluations.

Practical implications

It may not be that easy for interviewers to identify when applicants use IM, partly because they may be prone to overconfidence in their judgments and may (wrongly) believe they can “see through the applicant”. Also, what may actually matter in interviews is not the impression applicants think they are making, but interviewers' perceptions of applicant IM.


This study investigates interviewers' perceptions in addition to applicants' self-reports of five types of IM in real employment interviews, and how such perceptions are related to interview outcome.



The authors thank Myriam Aribot and Anaba Mahshoor for their help with the data collection.


Roulin, N., Bangerter, A. and Levashina, J. (2014), "Interviewers' perceptions of impression management in employment interviews", Journal of Managerial Psychology, Vol. 29 No. 2, pp. 141-163.



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