Sick on the day of the interview? Effects of presenteeism on selection outcomes and the moderating role of raters' perspective-taking

Pauline Schilpzand, Simon Lloyd D. Restubog, Yueyang Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In two experimental studies, we investigate how being sick with a common cold in a selection context influences the appraisals that evaluators form and how, in turn, people appraisal dimensions influence evaluators' hiring recommendations and leadership evaluations. Grounded in people appraisal theory (Cuddy et al., 2008; Fiske et al., 2007), we assess the universal evaluative dimensions of warmth and competence to explain detriments in hiring recommendations and leadership evaluations for applicants with a common cold. Further, we investigate whether a theoretically grounded individual difference variable, namely, the degree to which evaluators take others' perspective, influences the appraisals and subsequent judgments of sick applicants. Results across the two experimental studies, using students and professionals with selection experience, suggest that showing signs of being sick (i.e., presenteeism) had a negative impact on competence appraisals but not warmth appraisals. In addition, attending a job interview while sick had a significantly stronger negative effect on competence appraisals when the rater had a low as opposed to a high level of perspective-taking. These effects in turn predicted hiring recommendations and leadership evaluations. We discuss the implications of our findings for theory and practice.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)936-956
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Organizational Behavior
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jul 2023


  • being sick at work
  • common cold
  • competence appraisal
  • employee selection
  • experiment
  • interview
  • people appraisal
  • perspective-taking
  • presenteeism
  • video résumé
  • warmth appraisal

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • General Psychology
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management


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