Impression management (IM) tactics, such as personal storytelling and self-promotion can have significant and positive effects on the outcome of job interviews for people with epilepsy, according to a study published in the scientific journal Epilepsia.IM tactics could therefore be used as a “powerful strategy for empowering people with epilepsy to combat disability stigma, and offset negative perceptions of employers about the potential of this population to be productive workers,” according to the authors.In order to determine the effect of assertive IM on the subjective impressions of the interviewers and outcome of job interviews, the team, led by Dr Fomg Chan, at the University of Wisconsin, carried out an experiment with 99 masters students in business or human resources.They randomly assigned the students to one of three 15-minute videos of a job interview, where the candidate was applying for a position in computer sales. The candidate in the first video did not disclose any disability, the one in the second video had epilepsy but was not using any IM tactics and the candidate in the third video had epilepsy and was using IM tactics.After watching the video, the researchers asked the students to rate the job applicant in terms of general impression and employability for the described position.The results showed that IM tactics have a significant effect on the outcome of job interviews. The average rating of the students on both general impression and employability of an applicant with epilepsy who used IM tactics were significantly higher than for the applicant with epilepsy who did not use IM tactics.It is important to note that the study has several limitations. For instance, the study participants were students and not actual business people. Moreover, the scenarios used in the study described an active athlete with epilepsy who had complete seizure control, however only a third of people with epilepsy actually have complete seizure control. “Hence, results should be interpreted with caution,” the authors wrote.IM tactics are behaviours used by people to protect and promote their self-image and influence how they are perceived by others. Assertive IM tactics utilised in this study include actively constructing an image of oneself with a cohesive set of beliefs, opinions, characteristics, or experiences. Previous work has shown that IM tactics can influence the evaluation of a candidate by interviewers and the outcome of an interview including job offers.Author: Dr Özge ÖzkayaClick here to read more stories about living with epilepsy.