In two studies, we examined the effect of the presence (versus absence) of vocal cues on judges’ ratings of interview anxiety and interview performance. In Study 1, we designed an experiment in which participants rated either a high-anxiety candidate or a low-anxiety candidate and were exposed to either an audio version of the interview or a text-only version. In Study 2, we added a third condition—a text-only version with filler words (um and ah) cleaned out. In two online studies (n = 72 and n = 411), we found that the high-anxiety interviewee was rated higher on observer-rated anxiety and lower on observer ratings of interview performance as compared to the low-anxiety interviewee across both text and audio conditions, which did not support our hypothesis that anxiety would be less detectable when vocal cues were restricted in the text-only condition. Overall, this study provides powerful evidence of the ability of observers to recognize interviewee anxiety and highlights the negative impact of interview anxiety on the perceived interview performance of interviewees by observers.

Corresponding Author Information

Deborah M Powell


Department of Psychology, University of Guelph, Guelph Ontario N1G 2W1



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