The effects of social desirability and faking on personality and integrity assessment for personnel selection

Deniz S. Ones, Chockalingam Viswesvaran

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

175 Scopus citations


A review of the extant literature and new empirical research suggests that social desirability is not much of a concern in personality and integrity testing for personnel selection. In particular, based on meta-analytically derived evidence, it appears that social desirability influences do not destroy the convergent and discriminant validity of the Big Five dimensions of personality (Emotional Stability, Extraversion, Openness to Experience, Agreeableness, and Conscientiousness). We also present new empirical evidence regarding gender and age differences in socially desirable responding. Although social desirability predicts a number of important work variables such as job satisfaction, organizational commitment, and supervisor ratings of training success, social desirability does not seem to be a predictor of overall job performance and is only very weakly related to specific dimensions of job performance such as technical proficiency (r = -.07) and personal discipline (r = .05). Large sample investigations of the moderating influences of social desirability in actual work settings indicate that social desirability does not moderate the criterion-related validities of personality variables or integrity tests. The criterion-related validity of integrity tests for overall job performance with applicant samples in predictive studies is .41. Controlling for social desirability in integrity or personality test scores leaves the operational validities intact, thereby suggesting that social desirability functions neither as a mediator nor as a suppressor variable in personality-performance and integrity-performance relations. Theoretical explanations of why social desirability does not influence criterion-related validity are reviewed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)245-269
Number of pages25
JournalHuman Performance
Issue number2-3
StatePublished - 1998

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'The effects of social desirability and faking on personality and integrity assessment for personnel selection'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this