Convergence in job interviews: The effects on attitudinal evaluations across high- and low-context cultures.

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Globalization has led to more interactions between people from different cultures such as job interviews. Previous research has found that candidates are prone to converge their accent to the interviewer. However, few studies have investigated whether convergence in directness in communication also happens during job interviews and if this influences the outcome and thus successfulness of the interview for the candidate. Furthermore, to date, no studies have elaborated on whether convergence in directness is evaluated differently by high- and low- context cultures. It could be that cultures which prefer indirect communication are not sensitive to convergence on directness and even react negatively to it. Therefore, the present study examined whether convergence of the candidate on the basis of directness in a job interview influences the success of the interview and if there is a difference in candidate evaluations between English (high-context) and Dutch (low-context) mother tongue speakers. An experiment was conducted in which 47 Dutch and 35 English participants evaluated an audio sample from a job interview setting in which the candidate either converged to the interviewer in directness or remained indirect throughout the conversation. Findings revealed that in the convergence condition, low-context participants found the candidate more likeable than high- context participants. Furthermore, in the convergence condition the candidate was evaluated as more competent and hireable than in the maintenance condition. The latter implies that by converging in directness, a candidate could increase hiring chances regardless of cultural differences.
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