Applicant reactions to structuring the selection interview

Danielle Lombard-Sims, Purdue University


Initial research on structuring the interview process investigated structure's impact on the interview's psychometric properties (e.g., reliability and validity). In contrast, the empirical literature has begun to consider the impact of increased interview structure on job applicant reactions to the interview and the companies that utilize them. Current research has studied the effects of interviewer characteristics on applicant reactions and the effects of different types of selection procedures on applicant fairness reactions. In addition, while studies have examined the impact of applicants' perceived control on their reactions to selection procedures, few studies have examined this impact specifically for the employment interview. Given the widespread use of the interview in selection, this study adds to current research by focusing on applicant reactions to four elements of the interview identified as being salient to applicants (i.e., the degree to which the interviewee perceives that applicants are asked the same questions, the use of situational or behavioral type questions, controlling the use of ancillary information by the interviewer, and the degree to which questions from the applicant are controlled). In addition, this study focused on need for control as a moderator of the relationships between interview structure and fairness perceptions, recommendation intentions, and acceptance intentions. Participants consisted of 161 students voluntarily participating in three different interviewing scenarios: unstructured, semi-structured, and structured interviewing scenario. The participants completed post-interview measures asking them about their perceptions of fairness, their intention to recommend the company to others, and their intention of accepting an offer if one is made by the company. Although the hypothesized relationships between elements of structure and applicant evaluations of the interview were largely not supported, the results did indicate that student applicants perceived semi-structured and structured interviews to be fairer than unstructured interviews. In addition, the results suggest that more structured interviews may lead to lower behavioral intent to recommend the job to others or accept a job offer. Implications of the results are discussed in terms of how interview structure relates to the candidates' perception of fairness, recommendation intentions, and acceptance intentions.




Hazer, Purdue University.

Subject Area

Social psychology|Psychology|Organization Theory|Organizational behavior

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