Purpose: This purpose of this paper is to explore to efficacy of influence tactics at the outset of a job interview. Across three empirical studies, five influence tactics were manipulated during a simulated job interview to explore first impressions for candidates with or without a visible disability. Design/methodology/approach: Participants viewed videos of candidates (either in a wheelchair or not) responding to the opening question in a job interview by using one of five influence tactics (i.e. revealing a strong alternative, setting a numerical anchor, demonstrating approachability through imperfections, presenting hard skills that described job-related competencies or presenting soft skills including connecting well with and leading others). Perceptions of trustworthiness, fit for the current job and perceived appropriate salary amount were rated. Findings: Results show that, in general, tactics that might have beneficial effects when used at later moments, including the use of a strong alternate, anchor or imperfection display, may instead harm first impressions of anyone. When discussing specific skills, hard skills helped in both cases. However, the presentation of soft skills helped only the non-disabled job candidate. Trustworthiness acted as a mediator for most of these relationships in both populations. Originality/value: Results provide insight into how the use of these tactics very early in an interaction unfolds. Further, parsing the use of influence tactics into their effects on specific populations (such as people with disabilities) allows us to better understand the conditions under which they may help or hurt perceptions of employability.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)266-291
Number of pages26
JournalInternational Journal of Conflict Management
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 6 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Communication
  • Strategy and Management
  • Management of Technology and Innovation


  • Disability
  • First impressions
  • Influence
  • Job interviews
  • Tactics


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