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Celebrating 50 years of Building High Performance Corporate Teams - 1971 to 2021

In their article, “What you see may not be what you get: relationships among self-presentation tactics and ratings of interview and job performance” (2009) the authors confirmed that self-presentation tactics throughout the interview can influence positive ratings from the interviewer. These essential tactics include:

1) Appearance

This involves professional attire, level of hygiene and personal grooming. Don’t take this tactic for granted. Do use your appearance as a way to display your personality but remember anything too outside the norm can have negative effects (Barrick, DeGrassi, and Shaffer, 2009). Don’t use your interview to try out the latest fashion trends and hairstyles! Think: How will the interviewer be dressing?

2) Impression Management (Self-Promotion)

  • Demonstrate how you are the best fit and would be a good model for others. Think: How are you a leader and what makes you stand out in your abilities?
  • Don’t limit the conversation to your accomplishments and positive events but take responsibility for your role by explaining how you created the positive outcome or increased the value of an event. Think: what were the steps you took to succeed in an event?

3) Verbal & Nonverbal Behaviour

This is one of the most important forms of social influence. Exert control over your verbal and non-verbal behaviour by avoiding talking too fast, exhibiting nervous gestures, and voice control (be heard, don’t yell, sound assured). Those who can engage in behaviours such as smiling and eye contact can trigger positive affective evaluations from the interviewer (ibid.). Think: What are the nervous verbal and nonverbal cues I present and how can I remove them (ex. Replace “umms” with silence, refrain from fidgeting)?

The article concludes in explaining the positive relationship that exists between self-presentation tactics and job performance. For example, an interviewee that possesses conscientiousness by dressing in a professional manner, shows high emotional stability by being calm and secure in their verbal and non-verbal behaviours, and general mental ability to process information quickly and have high levels of fluency in an interview is more likely to possess these traits on the job and be successful (ibid.). After working so hard to get that interview it’s time show the employer you have what it takes for the job. Don’t be out done by your resume, live up to it.

Written by: Sema Parwana, Recruitment Assistant for Fulcrum Search Science Inc.


Barrick, Murray R., Sandra W. DeGrassi, and Jonathan A. Shaffer. “What you see may not be what you get: relationships among self-presentation tactics and ratings of interview and job performance.” Journal of Applied Psychology Nov. 2009: 1394+. Business Economics and Theory Collection. Web. 30 Apr. 2014.