Accommodation of directness in job interviews: perceptions of high and low context cultures.

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The success of interviews can be of great importance for one’s career. This study investigated the topic of accommodation based on directness within job interviews with the research question: ‘Are high and low-context cultures similarly sensitive to convergence on directness during job interviews?’, as well as the hypothesis H1: ‘Both nationalities will appreciate convergence more.’ and H2: ‘The British will appreciate the convergence to a direct communication style’. These hypotheses were chosen since previous studies have shown the advantages of accommodation and the British tend to adopt a more indirect communication style than the Dutch. In order to answer the research question and test the hypotheses an experiment was conducted in which both Dutch and British participants were asked to rate a candidate in a job interview on the basis of likeability, competence, motivation, personal characteristics and hireability. The participants could listen to an audio of a job interview and were randomly assigned to either an audio in which the candidate accommodated to the direct interviewer or an audio in which the candidate maintained an indirect communication style. There were no differences between the Dutch and British participants with the exception of Dutch participants indicating a higher level of likeability for the convergence condition than the British. Both competence and hireability showed a main effect with the convergence condition being appreciated more than the maintenance condition. These findings indicate that this study demonstrated that indirect (British) and direct (Dutch) cultures are very similar in their appreciation of accommodation based on directness. However, it also demonstrates that accommodation can be a potent tool for candidates as it can make a participant appear more competent and hireable.
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