By Shannon Vicic Corporations that provide their recruiters with interview training may end up hiring more-qualified employees than companies that don't provide such training, a UI professor says. Gerald Ferris, the director of the Center for Human Resource Management at the UI, and Western Illinois University management professor Jack Howard recently published a study suggesting that interviewers who have had formal interview training may be less susceptible to applicants' attempts to influence interviewers' judgments during an interview. "Most people tend to assume that interviewers are able to cut through applicants' attempts to manipulate them and single out the best candidate," Ferris said. "But by isolating some of the strategies that applicants use, we found out that most interviewers aren't very good at doing that at all. They get fooled just like everybody else." The researchers' study, which appeared in the Journal of Applied Social Psychology, was based on surveys of 116 corporate recruiters. The recruiters completed the surveys after watching videotapes of mock interviews, which were created by the researchers using student actors. "We spent a lot of time pilot-testing the videotapes to make sure we were presenting exactly the kind of stimulus we wanted," Ferris said. "We tried to hold things like physical appearance constant by using the same actor to play the applicant." Specifically, the researchers isolated the non-verbal cues and self-promotional behaviors displayed during interviews. They controlled the applicants' use of eye contact and body language - non-verbal cues that often signal "positive" personality traits such as self-confidence and decisiveness, Ferris said. The researchers also controlled the amount of self-promotion used by applicants. Applicants typically promote themselves to appear qualified for the position; in the case of an underqualified candidate, self-promotion may mean embellishing or exaggerating previous work experience. The interviewers were asked to rate the applicants and judge how suitable each applicant was for the position. The recruiters also were asked to report any previous training they had received in conducting employment interviews. The authors found that interviewers who reported receiving formal training rated applicants who displayed high levels of self-promotion as less competent for the job than interviewers who had not received formal training. In other words, interviewers who had undergone training were more likely to spot exaggerations or misrepresentations by underqualified applicants. Only a minority of the interviewers surveyed had been provided with interview training, which may help explain why applicants who are the most qualified for a job are sometimes overlooked in favor of less-qualified candidates.