Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Vanessa Edkins

Second Advisor

Lisa Steelman

Third Advisor

Patrick Converse

Fourth Advisor

Heidi Edwards


The recent media coverage of fatal interactions between police officers and unarmed Black citizens has led to increased calls for law enforcement agencies to diversify their departments. However, many agencies struggle to attract qualified minority candidates due to the negative history between law enforcement and minority communities. This study examined whether the use targeted defensive impression management techniques, such as apologizing for past transgressions, and supplicative recruiting messages can influence attraction and job pursuit intentions for minority applicants. This study also explored whether applicant perceptions of an organization’s sincerity and value of diversity mediates the relationship between diversity recruiting messages and applicant outcomes. Results suggest that both apologies and supplications positively improved applicant attraction and job pursuit intentions. This study also found that applicant perceptions (i.e., sincerity, value of diversity) fully mediated the relationship between defensive impression management message and applicant outcomes, as well as the relationship between supplication and attraction, but not for supplication and job pursuit intentions. There no were differences found between White and Black participants in this study. Implications for future research and practice are discussed.