Original Research

Impression management within the recruitment interview: Narratives of employees at a South African higher education institution

Vuyelwa Dondolo, Willie T. Chinyamurindi
SA Journal of Industrial Psychology | Vol 44 | a1547 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajip.v44i0.1547 | © 2018 Vuyelwa Dondolo, Willie T. Chinyamurindi | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 05 April 2018 | Published: 26 September 2018

About the author(s)

Vuyelwa Dondolo, Teaching and Learning Centre, University of Fort Hare, South Africa
Willie T. Chinyamurindi, Department of Business Management, University of Fort Hare, South Africa

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Orientation: Job interviews remain a popular platform on which organisations source talent. Interviewees seek to make an impression in interviews to influence the decision to be hired.

Research purpose: The study explores why and how impression management manifests within the recruitment interview setting.

Motivation for the study: Calls exist within the local and international literature for studies that explore the concept of impression management further as a basis to improve activities such as recruitment and selection.

Research approach, design/method: An interpretivist research paradigm using the qualitative approach and the exploratory research design was utilised. In-depth interviews with 20 employees at a South African higher education institution were conducted. Narrative analysis formed the basis of the data analysis by adopting the three levels of the meaning-making approach used in previous studies.

Main findings: Two major narratives emerged. Firstly, when exploring why impression management occurs in the recruitment interview, the strategising behaviour was identified. Secondly, when exploring how impression management occurs in the recruitment interview, the switching behaviour was identified.

Practical/managerial implications: The study provides information that organisational strategists and recruiters can use to enhance not only the recruitment process but also the decisions informed by such processes.

Contribution/value-add: This study contributes to the growing body of knowledge in an area of study that has received scant empirical focus locally and internationally. This can be a catalyst for future research on impression management.


recruitment; impression management; higher education institution; narrative


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