Retesting After Initial Failure, Coaching Rumors, and Warnings Against Faking in Online Personality Measures for Selection

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Abstract

A large sample (N = 32,311) of applicants for managerial positions at a nationwide retailer completed a personality test online over the course of several years. A new type of faking was observed in their responses: the use of only extreme responses (all 1s and 5s), which is labeled blatant extreme responding (BER). An increase in BER over time was observed for internal but not for external applicants, suggesting the presence of a coaching rumor. A subsample of internal applicants chose to retake the test after initial failure. These individuals showed substantial increases in both test scores and rate of BER, with higher prevalence of faking at retest than the main sample. To reduce faking, an interactive warning was implemented one year after the initial administration. Differing patterns of faking were observed before and after warnings, allowing for an examination of warning effectiveness in the presence of a coaching rumor. Results suggest that faking increases over time as the coaching rumor spreads but that warnings deter this spread. Evidence suggests that faking is indeed a problem in real-world selection settings.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)202-210
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Applied Psychology
Volume96
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2011

Keywords

  • Faking
  • Impression management
  • Job applicants
  • Personality measurement
  • Personnel selection

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