Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



College of Business and Economics



Committee Chair

Joyce T Heames

Committee Co-Chair

David D Dawley

Committee Member

Mark B Gavin

Committee Member

Jeffery D Houghton

Committee Member

Timothy P Munyon


Despite notable research attention, past studies addressing decision stability have provided conflicting recommendations regarding the stability and impact of initial impressions in an interview context. As a result, this dissertation focused on the integration of literature addressing decision making, employee selection, and influence processes in an attempt to provide both a theoretical and empirical foundation for future research addressing initial impressions throughout the interview process. Utilizing fuzzy trace theory and the thin slices of behavior literature, it was hypothesized that impressions formed at career fairs and at the beginning of interviews would account for significant variance in final impressions of employability even after considering interview interactions. In addition, motivational and cognitive components were added to the model to assess the impact of incentive compensation and decision confidence on employability rating stability. Using data from a simulation comprised of 28 recruiters and 229 applicants, results suggest that initial impressions formed at the beginning of the interview make a substantive impact on final impressions. However, impressions formed at the career fair do not appear to impact final impressions without considering the interactive effects of decision confidence. Hypotheses proposing that decision confidence would moderate linkages between initial impressions formed at the beginning of the interview and both interview scores and final impressions were not supported. In addition, results suggest that incentive compensation did not impact decision stability with the caveat that the manipulation checks for the incentive compensation manipulation were not significant. In all, these results suggest that initial impressions have a substantive impact on final impressions of employability and that decision confidence may increase decision stability over time. These findings encourage future research assessing the task-relevance of initial impressions, potential biases contained within first impressions, and the impact of initial impressions in unstructured interviews.