This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

Linguistic Cues to Faking in Computer Mediated Employment Interviews




Stuhlman, Melissa

Type of Degree

PhD Dissertation




In order to create an effective and profitable organization, one must select the right employees into the right positions. While there are many methods used to select employees (e.g. assessment centers, personality questionnaires, cognitive ability measures), the number one staple used by the majority of organizations for selection purposes is the interview (Lievens, Highhouse, & de Corte, 2005; Salgado, Viswesvaran, & Ones, 2001). Recently, selection interviews have been moving from face-to-face environments to ones utilizing recent technological advances, such as telephone and computer-mediated formats. Despite these advances, threats to the validity and utility of selection interviews remains. One potential threat is applicant faking. Applicant faking has been defined as the tendency to deliberately distort responses in a positive light (McFarland & Ryan, 2000; Fan et al., 2012). Applicant faking behaviors in face-to-face interviews may differ from those in computer-mediated interviews, as the added aspect of written text allows for different types of deception cues, such as comma usage, to be identified. The current study examined whether there are linguistic-based cues to faking in a computer-mediated employment interview. Results show that participants in the faking condition use significantly more words, words per sentence, complex words, commas, adjectives, affective words, and non-specific number words than participants in the honest condition. Additionally, those in the faking condition also used significantly fewer sentences, negations, exclusive words, friendship words, text lingo, and first-person pronouns than those in the honest condition. The practical implications of these findings as well as the future research directions are discussed.