A Meta-analytic Investigation of Applicant Faking on Personality Measures

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This study investigates the extent to which job applicants fake their responses on personality tests. Thirty‐three studies that compared job applicant and non‐applicant personality scale scores were meta‐analyzed. Across all job types, applicants scored significantly higher than non‐applicants on extraversion (d=.11), emotional stability (d=.44), conscientiousness (d=.45), and openness (d=.13). For certain jobs (e.g., sales), however, the rank ordering of mean differences changed substantially suggesting that job applicants distort responses on personality dimensions that are viewed as particularly job relevant. Smaller mean differences were found in this study than those reported by Viswesvaran and Ones (Educational and Psychological Measurement, 59(2), 197–210), who compared scores for induced “fake‐good” vs. honest response conditions. Also, direct Big Five measures produced substantially larger differences than did indirect Big Five measures.

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International Journal of Selection and Assessment, v. 14, issue 4, p. 317-335