How and Why Do Interviewers Try to Make Impressions on Applicants?

How and Why Do Interviewers Try to Make Impressions on Applicants?

How and Why Do Interviewers Try to Make Impressions on Applicants? A Qualitative Study


The research explored the how and why interviewers try to make impressions on applicants. The goal of this study was to investigate how interviewers try to create impressions on applicants in terms of interviewer impression management(IM) intentions and behaviors and why they engage in these behaviors in terms of intended IM outcomes(Wilhelmy et al., 2016). To reach their goals, applicants and interviewers try to detect what their interaction partner is interested in and try to use this information to send appropriate signals (Bangerter, Roulin, & König, 2012). Furthermore, the study hypothesis stated that we do not know to what degree these interviewer behaviors represent IM in terms of intentional, goal-directed behaviors. For instance, Tullar (1989) examined on-campus interviewer utterances and found that about two thirds of the utterances could be categorized as being structuring (e.g., expanding on a previous statement) and nearly one third as demonstrating equivalence such as mutual identification (e.g., “That is interesting”).


According to the researchers, grounded theory is a qualitative methodology that is particularly appropriate for our study because it has been developed to understand phenomena about which little is known (Glaser & Strauss, 1967)—such as interviewer IM. In addition, grounded theory has been shown to help researchers understand complex social processes (Willig, 2009). Thus, it has been suggested that researchers apply qualitative research strategies, like grounded theory, in employment interview and IM research (cf. Macan, 2009).

The researchers justify the study by stating that, although this study provides valuable insights into how and why interviewers intentionally try to create impressions on applicants, it has its limitations. This study included a range of different interview formats, which allowed us to capture a broad range of IM behaviours (Wilhelmy et al., 2016). According to the research, this study although signaling theory is the framework most often used to explain recruitment phenomena, it is currently not well defined and understood when it comes to organizational representatives’ intentions and deliberate signalling behaviours (Celani & Singh, 2011).


This study used samples to better understand interviewers’ IM behaviours, we studied samples of populations who had first-hand experience with the social interaction processes in employment interviews: people who are regularly conducting employment interviews (i.e., interviewers) and people who had recently been interviewed in several employment interviews (i.e., applicants). We included applicants because signalers (i.e., interviewers) might not always report all the signals they apply(Wilhelmy et al., 2016).

The results of the study were provided  in summary . According to the research outcomes,  interviewers’ goals and opportunities for IM are likely to differ from applicants’ goals and opportunities. Therefore, to enhance our theoretical understanding of this phenomenon, it is crucial to develop a comprehensive taxonomy and a conceptual model about the deliberate signaling processes on the side of the interviewer in terms of interviewer IM(Wilhelmy et al., 2016).


In the research, the authors adequately identified the problem as the results suggest a shift in the way that we think about interviewers in the employment interview. For instance, our study draws attention to the social nature of the interview and contributes to a more person-centric picture of the interviewer (following suggestions by Weiss & Rupp, 2011).The rationale for research justification was  that interviewers are well aware that they may influence applicant impressions and explicitly state their aims to do so. Additionally, the problem statement was consistent with the study from the abstracts , method, results, and discussion because the idea of the problem  was portrayed in all the sections. However, a major strength  of the study was many in text citations and many arguments from previous scholars. This shows that the researchers consulted other literally materials or works of other scholars  prior to carrying out the research). Moreover;  some of the referenced materials were not within the past 5 years.