Self-Presentation in Selection Settings: the Case of Personality Tests

Bernd Marcus, Judy Goldenberg, Saul Fine, Henning Hummert, Anne Traum

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Based on theoretical views that applicants express meaningful skills and motivation when presenting themselves in personnel selection settings, we challenge conventional wisdom that self-presentation necessarily impairs the diagnostic value of “fakable” selection devices. Instead, we propose to supplement the traditional psychometric approach to personnel selection with a social perspective that leverages the competitive nature of selection. In order to capture an outcome of self-presentation, we introduce the Ideal Employee Coefficient (IEC) as a supplement to traditional scoring of responses to personality items. Construct and criterion-related validity evidence using the IEC was collected in two studies covering three samples from diverse settings, populations, and measures. The IEC consistently showed incremental criterion-related validity beyond the same tests’ traditional scores, as well as construct-related evidence in line with theoretical underpinnings. Findings imply that traditional personality constructs can be meaningfully aggregated with measures of self-presentation that are cost-effectively derived from the same data sources.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)557-571
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Business and Psychology
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1 Oct 2020
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019, Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature.


  • Faking
  • Personality assessment
  • Personnel selection
  • Self-presentation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business and International Management
  • General Business, Management and Accounting
  • Applied Psychology
  • General Psychology


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