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This paper comments on Tett and Simonet’s (2021) outline of two contradictory positions on job applicants’ self-presentation on personality tests labelled “faking is bad” (FIB) versus “faking is good” (FIG). Based on self-presentation theory (Marcus, 2009) Tett and Simonet assigned to their FIG camp, I develop the ideas of (a) understanding self-presentation from the applicant’s rather than the employer’s perspective, (b) avoiding premature moral judgment on this behavior, and (c) examining consequences for the validity of applicant responses with a focus on the intended use for, and the competitive context of, selection. Conclusions include (a) that self-presentation is motivationally and morally more complex than assumed by proponents of the FIB view; (b) that its consequences for validity are ambivalent, which implies that simple credos like “FIB” or “FIG” are equally unjustified; and (c) that the label “faking” shall be abandoned from the scientific inquiry on the phenomena at hand, as it contributes to prejudiced and often erroneous conclusions.

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Bernd Marcus




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