Literature and Problem Statement

Open Posted By: ahmad8858 Date: 16/12/2020 Graduate Homework Writing

 For this Discussion, you will evaluate the purpose statements in assigned journal articles in your discipline and consider the alignment of theory, problem, and purpose. You will also explain your position on the relationship between research and social change. 


Alignment means that a research study possesses clear and logical connections among all of its various components. To achieve these connections, researchers must carefully craft the components of their study such that when they are viewed together, there is a coherent interrelationship.

As you read the authors’ purpose statements, consider how well the intent of the study, and its connection to the problem and theoretical framework, is presented. Also, consider if the purpose statement reveals the study’s potential for engendering positive social change.

As you know, social change is a distinguishing feature of Walden University’s mission. Positive social change implies a transformation that results in positive outcomes. This can happen at many levels (e.g., individual, family systems, neighborhoods, organizations, nationally and globally); and positive social change can occur at different rates: slow and gradual or fast and radical.

  Journal Article

Wilhelmy, A., Kleinmann, M., König, C. J., Melchers, K. G., & Truxillo, D. M. (2016). How and why do interviewers try to make impressions on applicants? A qualitative study. Journal of Applied Psychology, 101(3), 313-332. doi:10.1037/apl0000046


Post a critique of the research study in which you:

  • Evaluate the authors’ use of literature.
  • Evaluate the research problem.
  • Explain what it means for a research study to be justified and grounded in the literature; then, explain what it means for a problem to be original.

The Use of Literature Checklist and Problem Statement Checklist serve as guides for your evaluations. Please do not respond to the checklists in a Yes/No format in writing your Discussion post.

Be sure to support your Main Issue Post and Response Post with reference to the week’s Learning Resources and other scholarly evidence in APA Style.

Category: Mathematics & Physics Subjects: Algebra Deadline: 12 Hours Budget: $120 - $180 Pages: 2-3 Pages (Short Assignment)

Attachment 1

See discussions, stats, and author profiles for this publication at: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/279955332

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

Qualitative Study

Article  in  Journal of Applied Psychology · March 2016

DOI: 10.1037/apl0000046




5 authors, including:

Some of the authors of this publication are also working on these related projects:

personality testing during personnel selection View project

Procrastination View project

Annika Wilhelmy

University of Zurich



Martin Kleinmann

University of Zurich



Cornelius J. König

Universität des Saarlandes



Klaus Melchers

Ulm University



All content following this page was uploaded by Annika Wilhelmy on 08 October 2015.

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

Annika Wilhelmy and Martin Kleinmann Universität Zürich

Cornelius J. König

Universität des Saarlandes

Klaus G. Melchers Universität Ulm

Donald M. Truxillo

Portland State University

This article is currently in press in Journal of Applied Psychology

Author Note

Annika Wilhelmy and Martin Kleinmann, Department of Psychology, Universität Zürich,

Switzerland; Cornelius J. König, Department of Psychology, Universität des Saarlandes, Germany;

Klaus G. Melchers, Institute of Psychology and Education, Universität Ulm, Germany; Donald M.

Truxillo, Department of Psychology, Portland State University, Oregon, USA.

We thank Talya N. Bauer and Adrian Bangerter for their helpful comments on earlier versions

of the paper. We are grateful to Stéphanie Weissert, Lisa Juliane Schneider, Romana Nussbaumer,

and Sabrina Engeli for their help with data collection and analysis, and to Michel Hunziker for his

help with data analysis. We would also like to thank Susanne Inglin, Domenico Amendola, and

Roger Keller for technical and methodological consultations.

Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Annika Wilhelmy, Department

of Psychology, Universität Zürich, Binzmuehlestrasse 14/12, 8050 Zurich, Switzerland. E-mail:

[email protected]



To remain viable in today’s highly competitive business environments, it is crucial for organizations

to attract and retain top candidates. Hence, interviewers have the goal not only of identifying

promising applicants, but also of representing their organization. Although it has been proposed that

interviewers’ deliberate signaling behaviors are a key factor for attracting applicants and thus for

ensuring organizations’ success, no conceptual model about impression management (IM) exists

from the viewpoint of the interviewer as separate from the applicant. To develop such a conceptual

model on how and why interviewers use IM, our qualitative study elaborates signaling theory in the

interview context by identifying the broad range of impressions that interviewers intend to create for

applicants, what kinds of signals interviewers deliberately use to create their intended impressions,

and what outcomes they pursue. Following a grounded theory approach, multiple raters analyzed in-

depth interviews with interviewers and applicants. We also observed actual employment interviews

and analyzed memos and image brochures to generate a conceptual model of interviewer IM. Results

showed that the spectrum of interviewers’ IM intentions goes well beyond what has been proposed in

past research. Furthermore, interviewers apply a broad range of IM behaviors, including verbal and

nonverbal as well as paraverbal, artifactual, and administrative behaviors. An extensive taxonomy of

interviewer IM intentions, behaviors, and intended outcomes is developed, interrelationships between

these elements are presented, and avenues for future research are derived.

Keywords: employment interview, impression management, signaling theory, recruitment, qualitative



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

A Qualitative Study

The employment interview continues to be the most popular selection tool used by both

applicants and organizations to assess and select one another (Macan, 2009). It is characterized by

social exchange processes between applicants (who want to get hired) and representatives of the

organization (who want to attract and select the best candidates). 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).

Signaling processes in the interview have mainly been studied in terms of impression

management (IM) efforts (Delery & Kacmar, 1998). Scholars have repeatedly pointed out that

interviewers frequently use IM, and that these deliberate behaviors are a key factor for attracting

applicants and thus ensuring an organization’s economic success (e.g., Dipboye & Johnson, 2013;

Rosenfeld, 1997). However, it is striking that past interview research has rarely addressed the

phenomenon of interviewer IM, as most prior studies have limited their focus on how applicants use

IM (Koslowsky & Pindek, 2011). Furthermore, research has assumed that interviewers use the same

IM behaviors as applicants (e.g., Stevens, Mitchell, & Tripp, 1990) without taking a closer look at

what interviewers actually do when they interact with applicants.

We define interviewer IM as interviewers’ deliberate attempts to create impressions on

applicants (cf. Schlenker, 1980) and argue that it is important to identify and explain interviewer IM.

As outlined below, we argue that interviewers’ aims and opportunities may be different from those of

applicants, and therefore their IM efforts should be somewhat different as well. Furthermore, scholars

have noted that signaling theory, which is most often used to explain recruitment phenomena

(Bangerter et al., 2012; Spence, 1973), is currently not well-defined and understood in the context of

interviewers’ IM intentions and behaviors (Celani & Singh, 2011). Thus, to provide a more


comprehensive theoretical understanding of how and why interviewers try to create impressions on

applicants, it is crucial to learn more about interviewers’ deliberate signaling behaviors as well as

their underlying intentions.

Therefore, the aim of the present study is to use a qualitative approach to create a taxonomy

and a conceptual model by identifying and analyzing the broad range of possible interviewer IM

intentions, behaviors, and intended outcomes. We use this conceptual model to point out propositions

for future research on interviewer IM. Drawing on interdependence theory (Rusbult & Van Lange,

2003), this study sheds light on how interviewer and applicant IM are similar and distinct.

Furthermore, our study elaborates signaling theory (Bangerter et al., 2012; Spence, 1973) in the

interview context by gaining insights into specific signals that are deliberately used by interviewers,

and why these signals are being sent.

Theoretical Background

Signaling Processes in the Interview

The employment interview is a dynamic exchange in which interviewers and applicants

engage in social interaction, gather information, and create and form impressions (Levashina,

Hartwell, Morgeson, & Campion, 2014). Consequently, in the last two decades, researchers have

increasingly considered both interviewer and applicant perspectives and have given more attention to

how applicants and interviewers intentionally adapt their behaviors to pursue their interests (Dipboye,

Macan, & Shahani-Denning, 2012).

In employment interviews, applicants have information that is of interest to interviewers but

to which interviewers do not necessarily have access (e.g., information about applicants’ personality).

Similarly, interviewers have information that is of interest to applicants but to which applicants do

not necessarily have access (e.g., selection criteria). In situations like this, when two parties have

access to dissimilar information, signaling theory (Bangerter et al., 2012; Spence, 1973) is helpful for


describing and explaining behavior. According to this theory, signaling processes consist of several

elements, such as two primary actors – the signaler, sender, or insider (e.g., the interviewer), and the

receiver or outsider (e.g., the applicant) – as well as the actual signals sent by the signaler to the

receiver (Connelly, Certo, Ireland, & Reutzel, 2011). As Connelly et al. (2011) pointed out, the

signaler can also take an active part in this signaling process. For instance, interviewers can

deliberately choose whether and how to reduce information asymmetry by intentionally

communicating (or signaling) certain qualities to applicants who lack this information (Connelly et

al., 2011).

In this vein, IM behaviors reflect an intentional way of sending signals (cf. Schlenker, 1980).

While interviewers’ signals could be anything that is interpreted as a signal by the applicant,

interviewer IM refers to signals that are deliberately sent by the interviewer. In other words,

interviewer IM relates to a deliberate facet of signaling theory (Bangerter et al., 2012). In addition, it

is important to note that any behavior that an interviewer applies could constitute interviewer IM

behavior if this behavior is shown with the intention to create impressions on applicants (e.g., asking

challenging interview questions not only because they are part of the interview guide but also with

the intention to signal the organization’s high performance expectations). Conversely, if an

interviewer’s behavior is not linked with such an intention (e.g., asking challenging interview

questions only because they are part of the interview guide), it does not constitute interviewer IM.

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 signaling behaviors (Celani & Singh, 2011). To further

develop signaling theory, there have been calls to view and study signals within their social context,

such as the context of employment interviews. As such, a typology of signals that are sent in certain

contexts – like the employment interview – would be of high value to partition these signals into


meaningful categories and thus further understand the signaling phenomenon. In addition, research

would benefit from investigating the incentives of signalers, such as the outcomes they want to

achieve by using signals (Connelly et al., 2011). Thus, the main focus of this study is on signaling

intentions, the signals that interviewers deliberately send through their behavior to create applicant

impressions, and the outcomes interviewers want to achieve.

Potential signaling on the side of the interviewer. When organizations try to attract and

retain promising applicants, deliberate signals such as interviewer IM behavior have been proposed

to be particularly important (Celani & Singh, 2011). Nevertheless, despite extensive calls in the

literature to examine how and why interviewers intend to affect applicant impressions (cf., Delery &

Kacmar, 1998; Dipboye & Johnson, 2013; Gilmore, Stevens, Harrel-Cook, & Ferris, 1999; Macan,

2009), there have been no systematic attempts to examine the broad range of IM behaviors used by

interviewers. However, evidence suggests that interviewers pursue specific goals and that there are

certain interviewer characteristics that positively influence applicant attraction (Chapman, Uggerslev,

Carroll, Piasentin, & Jones, 2005; Derous, 2007).

It is important to note that only vague categories of behavior have been examined with regard

to applicants’ perceptions of interviewer behaviors, (e.g., competent behavior, professional behavior,

friendly behavior, cf. Chapman et al., 2005). Whereas it has been found that certain interviewer

behaviors and characteristics influence recruiting outcomes, such as perceived interviewer

personableness, competence, informativeness, trustworthiness, warmth, humor, and job knowledge

(Carless & Imber, 2007; Chapman et al., 2005), the signals that interviewers deliberately send

through their behavior to create these intended impressions have not been identified. Knowing more

about these specific, deliberate signals is crucial because it would help interviewers to influence

applicant impressions and thus to enhance recruitment success.


Furthermore, 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”). Nevertheless, it remains

unclear whether, how, and why interviewers intentionally adjust their behaviors to create images on

applicants’ minds, for example, images of being competent, professional, or friendly.

Potential differences between applicants’ and interviewers’ signaling. Applicants and

interviewers find themselves in the same social setting, but it might be misleading to apply existing

applicant IM taxonomies to interviewers. There may be considerable differences in applicants’ and

interviewers’ roles, intentions, and scopes of action. Interdependence theory (Rusbult & Van Lange,

2003) focuses on the causal determinants of dyadic social behavior and provides a conceptual

framework on the structure of interpersonal situations. The main idea of this theory is that

characteristics of the situation (e.g., individuals’ interests, information, and level of dependence)

exert strong effects on individuals’ behavior, for example, IM behavior. Thus, although interviewers

should apply some IM behaviors similar to those of applicants, they should also apply different IM

behaviors because they differ from applicants regarding several situational characteristics.

First, interdependence theory (Rusbult & Van Lange, 2003) suggests that individuals are

likely to use IM in different ways when they pursue different goals. As pointed out by Bangerter et

al. (2012), applicants and interviewers have partly divergent interests. For instance, while applicants’

primary signaling interest is to get a job offer, one of interviewers’ interests is to identify, attract and

finally hire the best performer. With this end in mind, interviewers try to create an image not only of

themselves but also of the job and the organization as a whole (Connelly et al., 2011). In other words,

interviewers need to influence applicants’ image of multiple targets. Thus, in addition to IM


behaviors that we know from applicant IM research such as self-promotion or self-focused IM

behaviors (i.e., describing one’s past accomplishments and competencies in a positive way), and

ingratiation or other-focused IM behaviors (i.e., flattering one’s interaction partner), interviewers

may use additional strategies to promote the job and the organization.

Furthermore, many existing taxonomies distinguish between assertive IM behaviors that aim

to enhance one’s own image and defensive IM behaviors that aim at defending against threats to a

positive image (e.g., Ellis, West, Ryan, & DeShon, 2002; Van Iddekinge, McFarland, & Raymark,

2007). However, in addition to the goal of promoting or defending oneself, the job, and the

organization, interviewers have also been given recommendations to provide realistic information to

facilitate self-selection (Wanous, 1976) and to signal honesty (Earnest, Allen, & Landis, 2011). Thus,

in order to create realistic applicant impressions, interviewers may apply behaviors that go beyond

applicant IM and that should result in a broader range of IM behaviors than the ones that applicants


Second, according to interdependence theory (Rusbult & Van Lange, 2003), individuals’

behavior is influenced by the information that is available to them. This is particularly relevant in

employment interviews, which involve interaction between strangers and are characterized by the

presence of vague information about the other (Rusbult & Van Lange, 2003). For example,

interviewers have access to information on applicants’ past failures, potential weaknesses, and gaps

in the applicants’ CV – whereas applicants usually do not easily get information before the interview

regarding the job, the organization, and the interviewer. This depth of interviewers’ information on

applicants should give them more possibilities to deliberately send signals and should thus translate

into a broader set of IM behaviors as compared to applicants.

For example, while research on applicant IM has primarily focused on verbal IM behaviors

(i.e., the content of applicants’ responses and statements), scholars have pointed out that much more


could be considered as part of one’s attempt to create images (Dipboye et al., 2012). For instance,

nonverbal IM has been seen as a fruitful area of research, including IM behaviors such as smiling,

eye contact, body posture (Levine & Feldman, 2002), as well as head nods, handshakes, and hand

gestures (McFarland, Yun, Harold, Viera, & Moore, 2005). In addition, verbal behaviors through

ways other than words may be used, also referred to as paraverbal or paralinguistic behaviors

(DeGroot & Motowidlo, 1999). Examples of paraverbal behaviors include style of delivery (e.g.,

pitch and speech rate) and verbal fluency.

Third, interviewers and applicants are to some extent dependent upon each other, but in

distinct ways, which should result in some differences in their IM (Rusbult & Van Lange, 2003). For

instance, applicants rely on interviewers because interviewers’ evaluations affect their chances of a

job offer (cf. Barrick, Shaffer, & DeGrassi, 2009). Therefore, applicants aim to create positive

images. Similarly, interviewers depend on applicants in terms of applicants’ job choice behavior, and

hence intend to create impressions on applicants (Dipboye et al., 2012). However, interviewers are

usually in a more powerful position than applicants because applicants only get to make a decision

about whether or not to work for the organization if they are offered a job (Anderson, 1992).

Consequently, interviewers might have the intention of signaling this power by using IM behaviors

that go beyond applicants’ IM.

Aims of the Present Study

In summary, 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. To address these empirical and

theoretical gaps, we want to explore three main questions with our qualitative study. Based on these


research questions, our aim is to develop a conceptual model and a taxonomy about how and why

interviewers apply IM.

Research Question 1: What do interviewers intend to signal to applicants, that is, what

are interviewers’ IM intentions?

Research Question 2: What signals do interviewers deliberately use to create their

intended impressions, that is, what IM behaviors do interviewers apply?

Research Question 3: What outcomes do interviewers want to achieve by deliberately

sending signals to applicants, that is, what are interviewers’ intended IM outcomes?


Grounded Theory Approach

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).

A core characteristic of grounded theory research is that data collection and analysis are

closely interrelated to engage with a phenomenon as deeply as possible. As such, analyzing data

influences the strategy of data collection and vice-versa (Glaser & Strauss, 1967). Hence, in our

study, data analysis influenced our subsequent choice of participants, interview questions,

observation emphasis, and our choice of topics for further data analysis.

Furthermore, grounded theory involves collecting data from multiple sources using multiple

techniques and analyzing it from multiple perspectives to create a multi-faceted sense of the

phenomenon (Glaser & Strauss, 1967). Thus, following recommendations by Bluhm, Herman, Lee,


and Mitchell (2011), we sampled diverse interviewers and applicants and collected comprehensive

information from in-depth interviews with interviewers and applicants, observations of selection

interviews, the review of memos related to these in-depth interviews and observations, and the

review of informational material that was given or recommended to applicants during the interview.

These data were analyzed and discussed by multiple researchers (following recommendations by

Corbin & Strauss, 2008).

Moreover, according to grounded theory, data collection and analysis continues until no new

information is gained, that is, until no new categories and concepts emerge from the data. In the

present study, this point, which is called theoretical saturation (Glaser & Strauss, 1967), was reached

after analyzing 30 in-depth interviews, 10 observations of real employment interviews, 43 memos,

and 12 pieces of informational material.


To better understand interviewers’ IM behaviors, we studied samples of populations who had

firsthand experience with the social interaction processes in employment interviews: people 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 of the signals they apply. Specifically, we used information

provided by applicants to develop ideas about possible interviewer IM intentions and behaviors. We

then asked interviewers whether the behaviors and intentions reported by applicants actually

Attachment 2

Research Theory, Design, and Methods Walden University

© 2016 Laureate Education, Inc. Page 1 of 1

Problem Statement Checklist Use the following criteria to evaluate an author’s problem statement:

• Is a problem identified that leads to the need for this study?

• Is a rationale or justification for the problem clearly stated?

• Is the problem framed in a way that is consistent with the research approach?

• Does the statement convey how the study will address the problem?

• Are the citations to literature current (i.e., within the past 5 years with the exception of seminal works)?

  • Problem Statement Checklist

Attachment 3

Research Theory, Design, and Methods Walden University

© 2016 Laureate Education, Inc. Page 1 of 1

Use of Literature Checklist Use the following criteria to evaluate an author’s use of literature. • Look for indications of the following ways the author used literature:

• Introduce a problem

• Introduce a theory

• Provide direction to the research questions and/or hypotheses

• Compare results with existing literature or predictions

• Did the author mention the problem addressed by the study?

• Is the purpose of the study stated?

• Are key variables in the study defined?

• Is information about the sample, population, or participants provided?

• Are the key results of the study summarized?

• Does the author provide a critique of the literature?

• Are sources cited to support points?

• Are the citations to recent literature (within the past 5 years with the exception of seminal works)?

• Does the literature justify the importance of the topic studied?

  • Use of Literature Checklist