In This Article Faking in Personnel Selection

  • Introduction
  • General Overviews
  • Journals
  • Debates and Controversies
  • Definitions
  • Faking Ability
  • Faking Prevalence
  • Models of Faking
  • Coaching
  • Faking in Employment Interviews

Management Faking in Personnel Selection
by
Patrick D. Converse, Brian H. Kim
  • LAST MODIFIED: 28 June 2016
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780199846740-0098

Introduction

Faking has been defined in several ways but generally refers to intentional distortion of responses on psychological measures. This behavior is a potential concern in personnel selection contexts because applicants who are motivated to obtain a job might consciously distort their responses on selection measures in an attempt to increase their chances of receiving a job offer, especially when perceiving their true ability and qualifications to be inadequate. More specifically, job applicants may exaggerate or completely fabricate positive qualities and downplay or completely deny negative qualities. Although the reasoning underlying concerns regarding faking in personnel selection is fairly easy to understand, the antecedents, nature, and consequences of faking have turned out to be less straightforward. As a result, researchers and practitioners have devoted substantial time and attention to these issues in an attempt to understand faking and address it in practical selection contexts by preventing this behavior or measuring and adjusting assessment processes to account for it. This article focuses on major examples of this work. Much of the empirical research, theoretical development, and practical interventions in this area focus specifically on self-report personality measures, but the psychological processes can often be generalized to other measures in selection such as employment interviews or biographical data inventories. The focus on personality likely stems in part from the potential practical benefits of using these measures in selection (e.g., they are easy to administer and have demonstrated criterion-related validity) and the perception that they are easily faked, as they do not imply a strictly correct answer (in contrast with cognitive tests). Thus, key examples of work on personality measures and other assessments are covered.

General Overviews

Relatively recent work on faking has been covered in two edited books. Griffith and Peterson 2006 contains fourteen chapters covering a range of topics, including the nature of faking, the history of faking research, faking antecedents, relevant research designs, measuring faking, preventing faking, faking consequences, culture and faking, and future research directions. Ziegler, et al. 2012 contains nineteen chapters and covers related topics, including faking prevalence, faking consequences, detecting and correcting for faking, preventing faking, faking in clinical and educational settings, and future directions. Both of these books provide useful general overviews of this area by covering a range of issues in a fairly accessible manner. Griffith and Robie 2013 reviews work on faking from 2006 to 2012.

  • Griffith, Richard L., and Mitchell H. Peterson, eds. A Closer Examination of Applicant Faking Behavior. Greenwich, CT: Information Age, 2006.

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    Provides a general overview of work on faking. Covers questions including: What is faking? What is occurring when an applicant fakes? What are the characteristics of the “typical” faker? How do we assess whether an individual has faked? What methods can be used to reduce the impact of applicant faking?

  • Griffith, Richard L., and Chet Robie. “Personality Testing and the ‘F-Word’: Revisiting Seven Questions about Faking.” In Handbook of Personality at Work. Edited by Neil D. Christiansen and Robert P. Tett, 253–280. New York: Routledge, 2013.

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    Reviews recent work on basic questions surrounding faking: Is faking an identifiable construct? Are people expected to fake? Can people fake? Do people fake? Do people differ in the ability and motivation to fake? Does faking matter? Can anything be done about faking?

  • Ziegler, Matthias, Carolyn MacCann, and Richard D. Roberts, eds. New Perspectives on Faking in Personality Assessment. New York: Oxford University Press, 2012.

    E-mail Citation »

    Provides an overview of faking research. Covers four general questions: Do people fake and does it matter? Can we tell if people fake? Can we stop people from faking? Is faking a consequential issue outside a job selection context?

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