Journal of Business and Psychology

, Volume 34, Issue 1, pp 107–124 | Cite as

Tell Me Sweet Little Lies: How Does Faking in Interviews Affect Interview Scores and Interview Validity?

  • Anne-Kathrin BuehlEmail author
  • Klaus G. MelchersEmail author
  • Therese Macan
  • Jana Kühnel
Original Paper


Interviews are a prevalent technique for selection and admission purposes. However, interviews are also viewed as potentially fakeable, raising the question of whether interviewees’ faking behavior impairs the quality of selection decisions. To address these concerns, our study examined whether interviewees can actually improve their interview score by faking and the role that interviewee ability factors play in interview faking. We also explored the effect of faking on criterion-related validity with regard to successfully predicting interviewees’ task and contextual performance. We conducted simulated interviews in an honest and an applicant instruction condition using a within-subjects design. In line with our hypotheses, interviewees were able to improve their interview scores when asked to respond as an applicant. The size of the improvement of these interview scores correlated with interviewees’ cognitive ability and their ability to identify the targeted interview dimensions. Concerning the effects of faking on criterion-related validity, we found that academic performance was better predicted in the applicant instruction condition whereas contextual performance was better predicted in the honest condition. Thus, it appears that claims that “faking impairs criterion-related validity” are too simplified and that we have to consider the kind of criterion predicted.


Selection interview Faking Criterion-related validity Contextual performance Ability to identify criteria 



We thank Barbara Körner, Karin Eigenseer, Jan-Philipp Schulz, Sina Bulling, Evelyn Schuwerk, Tina Gösel, and Cora Grässle for help with the data collection and/or coding of the videotapes.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institut für Psychologie und PädagogikUniversität UlmUlmGermany
  2. 2.Department of Psychological SciencesUniversity of Missouri-St. LouisSt. LouisUSA

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