Acting Anxious: The Impact of Candidates’ Anxious Nonverbal Behaviour on Interview Performance Ratings

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Mastrella, Simonne
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University of Guelph

Anxious job candidates receive lower interview performance ratings relative to less anxious candidates, but it is unclear why (Powell et al., 2018). The present study examined the impact of candidates’ anxious nonverbal behaviour on interview performance ratings. Additionally, the moderators of job type—in terms of interpersonal interaction—and candidate gender were examined. Participants watched an interview of an actor delivering scripted responses. Hypotheses were tested using a between-subjects experimental design with 823 participants. The design was a 2 (Anxious Nonverbal Behaviour: High, Low) x 2 (Degree of Interpersonal Interaction in Target Job: High, Low) x 2 Candidate Gender (Male, Female). Results suggested that participants in the high anxious nonverbal behaviour condition gave lower interview performance ratings than those in the low anxious nonverbal behaviour condition. Job type and candidate gender did not moderate this relation. Future research should examine why anxious nonverbal behaviours lead to lower interview performance ratings.

personnel selection, employment interviews, interview anxiety