Applying for Remote Jobs? You’d Better be Competent! Teleworking Turns Recruiters Attention to Candidate Competence over Warmth-Related Skills

Kyriaki Fousiani*, Chloe Sypes, Bibiana Armenta Gutiérrez

*Corresponding author for this work

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Person Perception Theory suggests that two traits, warmth and competence, govern social judgments of individuals and that warmth has a primacy effect over competence because of its capability to predict people’s intentions. Drawing on rational decision-making theories, we hypothesized that in organizations, which are by definition concerned with instrumental goals (i.e., maximization of tangible profits and minimization of costs), worker competence is more important than worker warmth and influences hiring decisions about candidates. Moreover, we hypothesized that teleworking turns recruiters’ attention to candidate competence (over warmth) to a greater extent than onsite work. Supporting our hypothesis, Study 1, a vignette experiment, showed that people manifest a stronger intention to recruit a candidate who is highly competent (although less warm) while this effect was stronger when the
work-setting favored teleworking. Study 2 (preregistered), a field experiment with recruiter participants, further showed that recruiters are more inclined to hire highly competent (although less warm) candidates when the work-setting favors teleworking through the perception of competent candidates as more appropriate for a job. These results provide evidence for a reversal of the primacy effect of warmth at work, and illuminate the important role of work-setting (online vs. onsite) in recruiters’ hiring decisions.
Original languageEnglish
Article number112063
Number of pages10
JournalPersonality and Individual Differences
Publication statusPublished - Apr-2023


  • person perception
  • warmth
  • teleworking
  • competence
  • recommendation for recruitment
  • Big two

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