Training Interpersonal Skills for Interviews: The Value of Behavioral Models and the Role of Personality
Beier, Margaret E.
Doctor of Philosophy thesis
Training for interpersonal skills is used widely in organizations but few empirical studies have measured its effectiveness in creating behavioral change. Though the impact of individual differences on training for technical skills has been examined extensively, prior studies in interpersonal skills training have not investigated personal characteristics to determine antecedents of interpersonal knowledge and predictors of learning. The current investigation applies social learning theory to the development of interpersonal skills training for job interviewing and examines the role of personality on training outcomes. In Study 1, I analyzed the interpersonal skills relevant to interviewing for a job and developed a measure of interpersonal interview knowledge. In Study 2, I investigated two formats for training interpersonal skills for interviews. One format used general rules for behavior to teach interpersonal skills for interviews while the other format used a combination of rules and examples of real interview behaviors modeled by actors. The primary aim of Study 2 was to examine the relationships between personality, training format, training’s fit with self-concept, knowledge, and interview performance. Training format did not impact interpersonal interview knowledge but did influence satisfaction with the training. Surprisingly, cognitive ability was not related to interview knowledge before or after training. Agreeableness and conscientiousness were positively related interpersonal interview knowledge. Interpersonal interview knowledge and conscientiousness positively predicted interview performance. Agreeableness, however, was negatively related to interview performance. These findings begin to answer questions about how individual differences can impact the effectiveness of interpersonal skills training in terms of both knowledge development and transfer of skills to job-related contexts.
interpersonal skills; training; soft skills; job interviews; personality