Skip to content →

Master Thesis

Michaela Neumayr, 2018 – Influence of mimicry on virtual job interviews

Several studies have shown that mimicry has an impact on the impression of a counterpart and the interaction with this counterpart. These effects have been found in real word interactions as well as virtual interactions. Still missing is the consideration of influences of mimicry in the selection of employees, especially in a job interview setting.

In an experiment we investigated how participants of a job interview with a virtual interviewer reacted to the imitation of their smile, nodding and head movements. In one condition the virtual interviewer imitated those social signals, in the other condition he did not.

The results showed no significant difference between the groups regarding perceived friendliness, social competence, empathy, social presence, interaction with the virtual interviewer and the mimicry shown by applicants. Also there was no difference between the groups regarding the mediating effects of these variables for organizational attractiveness and intentions to pursue the application process.

Interestingly, exploratory analysis showed a gender difference in the mimicry condition. Male imitated applicants rated the virtual interviewer worse than female imitated applicants concerning the following variables: friendliness, social competence, social presence and interaction.  These results suggest that gender could have an influence on the perception of interviewer and the interview. Social signals could be interpreted in different ways, depending on applicants and interviewers gender.

Companies should consider these influences and especially be aware of the various consequences using new technologies in the selection process.

Alvaro Cepero, 2017

Jannis Göhlich, 2017

Zhenqiang Guo, 2017

Markus Langer, 2014

Expanding research on employment interview training, this study introduces virtual employment interview (VI) training with focus on nonverbal behavior. In VI training, participants took part in a simulated interview with a virtual character. Simultaneously, the computer analyzed participants’ nonverbal behavior and provided real-time feedback for it. The control group received parallel interview training. Following training, participants took part in mock interviews, where interviewers rated participants’ nonverbal behavior, and interview performance. Analyses revealed (a) that participants of VI training showed better interview performance, (b) that this effect was mediated by nonverbal behavior, and (c) that VI training has a positive influence on interview anxiety. These results have important practical implications for applicants, career counseling centers, and organizations.

Langer, M., König, C. J., Gebhard, P., & André, E. (2016). Dear computer, teach me manners: Testing virtual employment interview training. International Journal of Selection and Assessment, 24(4), 312-323.