In high-stakes contexts such as job interviews, people seek to be evaluated favorably by others and they attempt to accomplish such favorable judgments particularly through self-promotional behaviors. We sought to examine the persuasiveness of job candidates’ self-promotion by examining job applicants’ subjective hireability from the perspective of construal-level theory. Construal-level theory states that perceptions occur from different levels of psychological distance (i.e., distal vs. proximal). This distance is created by other dimensions of distance (e.g., spatial or social distance) and affects how individuals construe incoming information. From a large distance, people more readily process abstract information, whereas from a close distance, people more readily process concrete information. Specifically, construal compatibility occurs when abstract versus concrete features of a stimulus match the psychological distance experienced by message-recipients. Construal compatibility (vs. incompatibility) makes evaluations (e.g., of messages) more favorable. To apply this principle to self-promotion, we created self-promotional videos of a job interview, in which the applicant sat either far away from or close to the hiring manager (manipulating psychological distance); the applicant, then, used either direct or indirect self-promotion (manipulating message construal level). The results showed participants reported stronger intention to hire the applicant when distance matched (vs. did not match) the type of self-promotion the applicant used.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)448-456
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Applied Social Psychology
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2018

ID: 39319559