An investigation of the effects of order of presentation of favorable and unfavorable information on initial and final decisions in employment interviews

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This study examined the formation of tentative decisions in employment interviews, and their effect upon final decisions. The effect of the order of presentation of information favorability upon the time and direction of tentative decisions, and upon the following final decisions, was investigated. Four hypotheses were tested. Hypothesis 1 proposed that initial exposure to a block of unfavorable information would lead to earlier formation of tentative decisions. Hypothesis 2 proposed that final decisions would agree with tentative decisions more often than would be expected by chance. Hypothesis 3 proposed that final decisions would agree more often with tentative reject decisions than with tentative accept decisions. Hypothesis 4 proposed that there would be a higher proportion of agreement between tentative and final decisions when unfavorable information was presented first. Seventy-four undergraduate industrial psychology students viewed a video taped employment interview, after reading a job description and a hypothetical application blank. The subjects recorded the elapsed time when they had gained enough information to form a tentative hiring decision. The videotaped applicant presented half favorable and half unfavorable information. The blocks of information were presented to groups of subjects in favorable first and unfavorable first conditions. Within each condition of order of presentation of information favorability, subgroups viewed tapes varying the order of information content area. After viewing the tapes, subjects recorded a final hiring decision. Hypothesis 1 could not be clearly tested as it was originally stated due to the presence of an interaction between the effect of order of presentation of information favorability and order of presentation of content area. Hypotheses 2, 3 and 4 were confirmed by the data obtained in this experiment.

Employment interviewing