Examining the Role of Applicant Faking in Hiring Decisions: Percentage of Fakers Hired and Hiring Discrepancies in Single- and Multiple-Predictor Selection

  • Mitchell H. Peterson
  • Richard L. Griffith
  • Patrick D. Converse



The purpose of this study was to examine the impact of applicant faking on personnel selection outcomes (fakers hired and hiring discrepancies) across single-predictor (conscientiousness alone) and multiple-predictor (combinations of conscientiousness and cognitive ability) selection methods.


Applicant faking was measured using a within-subjects design in which participants completed a conscientiousness measure both under the assumption that they were applying for a job and under honest response instructions. The two selection outcomes (fakers hired and hiring discrepancies) were compared across single- and multiple-predictor scenarios.


Our results indicated that the combinations of conscientiousness and cognitive ability resulted in as much as a 13.50% reduction in hiring fakers (compared to a conscientiousness measure alone); however, most of these differences were not statistically significant. The use of cognitive ability–conscientiousness combinations did, however, result in significant reductions in hiring discrepancies.


The primary implication of the present study is that while the use of multiple predictors is effective in reducing the impact of faking on hiring discrepancies over the use of a personality measure alone, this reduction may not be large enough to eliminate concern over the occurrence of faking.


Most research investigating potential negative effects of applicant faking has focused solely on single-predictor selection scenarios. However, personality measures rarely serve as the sole basis for hiring decisions. The present study sheds light on the impact of faking on selection outcomes when more than one predictor variable plays a role in hiring decisions.


Applicant faking Personnel selection Personality measurement Hiring decisions 


  1. Alliger, G. M., Lillianfield, S. O., & Mitchell, K. E. (1996). The susceptibility of overt and covert integrity tests to coaching and faking. Psychological Science, 7, 32–39.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Arthur, W., Glaze, R. M., Villado, A. J., & Taylor, J. E. (2009). The magnitude and extent of cheating and response distortion effects on unproctored internet-based tests of cognitive ability and personality. International Journal of Selection and Assessment.Google Scholar
  3. Barrick, M. R., & Mount, M. K. (1991). The big five personality dimensions and job performance: A meta-analysis. Personnel Psychology, 44, 1–26.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Berry, C. M., Ones, D. S., & Sackett, P. R. (2007a). Interpersonal deviance, organizational deviance, and their common correlates: A review and meta-analysis. Journal of Applied Psychology, 92, 410–424.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  5. Berry, C. M., Sackett, P. R., & Wiemann, S. (2007b). A review of recent developments in integrity test research. Personnel Psychology, 60, 271–301.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Bobko, P., Roth, P. L., & Potosky, D. (1999). Derivation and implications of a meta-analytic matrix incorporating cognitive ability, alternative predictors, and job performance. Personnel Psychology, 52, 561–589.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Borman, W. C., & Motowidlo, S. J. (1997). Task performance and contextual performance: The meaning for personnel selection research. Human Performance, 10, 99–109.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Cascio, W. F. (1991). Applied psychology in personnel management (4th ed.). Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall.Google Scholar
  9. Christiansen, N. D., Goffin, R. D., Johnston, N. G., & Rothstein, M. G. (1994). Correcting the 16PF for faking: Effects on criterion-related validity and individual hiring decisions. Personnel Psychology, 47, 847–860.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Converse, P. D., Peterson, M. H., & Griffith, R. L. (2009). Faking on personality measures: Implications for selection involving multiple predictors. International Journal of Selection and Assessment, 17, 47–60.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Cortina, J. M., Goldstein, N. B., Payne, S. C., Davison, H. K., & Gilliland, S. W. (2000). The incremental validity of interview scores over and above cognitive ability and conscientiousness scores. Personnel Psychology, 53, 325–351.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Costa, P. T., & McCrae, R. R. (1992). NEO PI-R: Professional manual revised NEO personality inventory (NEO PI-R) and NEO five-factor inventory (NEO-FFI). Lutz, FL: Psychological Assessment Resources.Google Scholar
  13. Crocker, L., & Algina, J. (1986). Introduction to classical and modern test theory. Fort Worth, TX: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich.Google Scholar
  14. De Corte, W., Lievens, F., & Sackett, P. R. (2007). Combining predictors to achieve optimal trade-offs between selection quality and adverse impact. Journal of Applied Psychology, 92, 1380–1393.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  15. Donovan, J. J., Dwight, S. A., & Hurtz, G. M. (2003). An assessment of the prevalence, severity, and verifiability of entry-level applicant faking using the randomized response technique. Human Performance, 16, 81–106.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Gatewood, R. D., & Field, H. S. (2004). Human resource selection (5th ed.). Mason, OH: South-Western Thompson Learning.Google Scholar
  17. Griffith, R. L., Chmielowski, T. S., & Yoshita, Y. (2007). Do applicants fake? An examination of the frequency of applicant faking behavior. Personnel Review, 36, 341–355.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Griffith, R. L., Malm, T., Yoshita, Y., English, A., & Gujar, A. (2006). Applicant faking behavior: Teasing apart the influence of situational variance, cognitive biases, and individual differences. In R. L. Griffith & M. H. Peterson (Eds.), A closer examination of applicant faking behavior (pp. 149–176). Greenwich, CT: Information Age Publishing.Google Scholar
  19. Guion, R. M., & Gottier, R. F. (1965). Validity of personality measures in personnel selection. Personnel Psychology, 18, 135–164.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Haaland, D., & Christiansen, N. D. (1998). Departures from linearity in the relationship between applicant personality test scores and performance as evidence of response distortion. Paper presented at the 22nd Annual International Personnel Management Association Assessment Council Conference, Chicago, IL.Google Scholar
  21. Hogan, R., Hogan, J., & Roberts, B. W. (1996). Personality measurement and employment decisions: Questions and answers. American Psychologist, 51, 469–477.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Hough, L. M. (1998). Effects of intentional distortion in personality measurement and evaluation of suggested palliatives. Human Performance, 11, 209–244.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Hough, L. M., Eaton, N. K., Dunnette, M. D., Kamp, J. D., & McCloy, R. A. (1990). Criterion-related validities of personality constructs and the effect of response distortion on those validities. Journal of Applied Psychology, 75, 581–595.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Hurtz, G. M., & Donovan, J. J. (2000). Personality and job performance: The big five revisited. Journal of Applied Psychology, 85, 869–879.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  25. Komar, S., Brown, D. J., Komar, J. A., & Robie, C. (2008). Faking and the validity of conscientiousness: A Monte Carlo investigation. Journal of Applied Psychology, 93, 140–154.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  26. Komar, S., Theakston, J., Brown, D. J., & Robie, C. (2005). Faking and the validity of personality: A monte-carlo investigation. Paper presented at the 20th annual meeting for the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology, Los Angeles, CA.Google Scholar
  27. McFarland, L. A., & Ryan, A. M. (2000). Variance in faking across noncognitive measures. Journal of Applied Psychology, 85, 812–821.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  28. Mersman, J. L., & Schultz, K. S. (1998). Individual differences in the ability to fake on personality measures. Personality and Individual Differences, 24, 217–227.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Mischel, W. (1968). Personality and assessment. New York: Wiley.Google Scholar
  30. Morgeson, F. P., Campion, M. A., Dipboye, R. L., Hollenbeck, J. R., Murphy, K., & Schmitt, N. (2007). Reconsidering the use of personality tests in personnel selection contexts. Personnel Psychology, 60, 683–729.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Mueller-Hanson, R., Heggestad, E. D., & Thornton, G. C., I. I. I. (2003). Faking and selection: Considering the use of personality from select-in and select-out perspectives. Journal of Applied Psychology, 89, 348–355.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Peterson, M. H., & Griffith, R. L. (2006). Faking and job performance: A muti-faceted issue. In R. L. Griffith & M. H. Peterson (Eds.), A closer examination of applicant faking behavior (pp. 231–259). Greenwich, CT: Information Age Publishing.Google Scholar
  33. Potosky, D., Bobko, P., & Roth, P. L. (2005). Forming composites of cognitive ability and alternative measures to predict performance and reduce adverse impact: Corrected estimates and realistic expectations. International Journal of Selection and Assessment, 13(4), 304–315.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Rosse, J. G., Stecher, M. D., Miller, J. L., & Levin, R. A. (1998). The impact of response distortion on pre-employment personality testing and hiring decisions. Journal of Applied Psychology, 83, 634–644.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Ryan, A. M., Ployhart, R. E., & Friedel, L. A. (1998). Using personality testing to reduce adverse impact: A cautionary note. Journal of Applied Psychology, 83, 298–307.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Sackett, P. R., & Ellingson, J. E. (1997). The effects of forming multiple-predictor composites on group differences and adverse impact. Personnel Psychology, 50, 707–721.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Sackett, P. R., & Roth, L. (1996). Multi-stage selection strategies: A Monte Carlo investigation of effects on performance and minority hiring. Personnel Psychology, 49, 549–572.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Schmidt, F. L., & Hunter, J. E. (1998). The validity and utility of selection methods in personnel psychology: Practical and theoretical implications of 85 years of research findings. Psychological Bulletin, 124, 262–274.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Schmitt, N., & Oswald, F. L. (2006). The impact of corrections for faking on the validity of noncognitive measures in selection settings. Journal of Applied Psychology, 91, 613–621.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  40. Stark, S., Chernyshenko, O. S., Chan, K., Lee, W. C., & Drasgow, F. (2001). Effects of the testing situation on item responding: Cause for concern. Journal of Applied Psychology, 86, 943–953.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  41. Tett, R. P., Jackson, D. N., & Rothstein, M. (1991). Meta-analysis of personality-job performance relationships. Personnel Psychology, 47, 157–172.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Vasilopoulos, N. L., Cucina, J. M., Dyomina, N. V., Morewitz, C. L., & Reilly, R. R. (2006). Forced-choice personality tests: A measure of personality and cognitive ability. Human Performance, 19, 175–199.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Viswesvaran, C., & Ones, D. S. (1999). Meta-analyses of fakability estimates: Implications for personality measurement. Educational and Psychological Measurement, 59, 197–210.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Wonderlic, E. F. (2002). Wonderlic personnel test & scholastic level exam user’s manual. Libertyville, PA: Wonderlic Personnel Test.Google Scholar
  45. Wrensen, L. B., & Biderman, M. D. (2005). Factors related to faking ability: A structural equation model application. Paper presented at the 20th Annual Conference for the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology, Los Angeles, CA.Google Scholar
  46. Zickar, M., Rosse, J. & Levin, R. (1996). Modeling the effects of faking on personality scales. Paper presented at the Eleventh Annual Conference of the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology, San Diego, CA.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mitchell H. Peterson
    • 1
  • Richard L. Griffith
    • 1
  • Patrick D. Converse
    • 1
  1. 1.School of PsychologyFlorida Institute of TechnologyMelbourneUSA

Personalised recommendations