A Qualitative Study of Job Interviewers’ Implicit Person Theories

Lars Lundmann

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Job interviewers’ implicit person theories (i.e., beliefs that personalities are adaptable or fixed) were examined through a qualitative analysis of interviews with job interviewers. The study demonstrates that job interviewers tend to use generalized trait descriptions of applicants when determining their selection. This is problematic because it neglects the context’s interference with the applicant—for example, the effect of a new manager, colleagues, or company culture. The study demonstrates that job interviewers implicitly
assume that the impressions they form of an applicant during the job interview are easily transferrable to the job they are seeking to fill. Thus, job interviewers appear to view applicants as persons with fixed personality traits, despite human adaptability. This is not
necessarily because the job interviewer has a stable implicit entity theory of persons; instead, it is argued that the job interview setting creates such assumptions. Implications for job interview research and suggested modifications of job interviews are discussed, and
perspectives relating to other societal issues are raised.
Original languageEnglish
Journal Journal of Integrated Social Sciences
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)1-32
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • Person theory
  • selection
  • Job interview
  • Personality judgment
  • Context

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