Past research on the employment interview has unearthed a "similar-to-me" effect signaling that rater-applicant similarity on various demographic and attitudinal variables will tend to inflate (bias) rater judgments. This study probes whether a similar-to-me effect hinging on personality dimensions also exists in the employment interview. Results revealed rater-applicant similarity on the study's focal construct - conscientiousness - significantly influences job suitability evaluations. The similar-to-me phenomenon is explored in terms of competence- and affect-based explanations, and a modified paradigm applicable to job-relevant constructs is proposed. Contrary to conventional conceptualizations of the similar-to-me phenomenon, we suggest that the similar-to-me effect does not necessarily reflect rater error; in some cases, rater-applicant similarity may be leveraged to bolster interview validity.
Canadian Journal of Behavioural Science
Sprott School of Business

Sears, G, & Rowe, P.M. (Patricia M.). (2003). A personality-based similar-to-me effect in the employment interview: Conscientiousness, affect-versus competence-mediated interpretations, and the role of job relevance. Canadian Journal of Behavioural Science, 35(1), 13–24. doi:10.1037/h0087182