LONDON — Just be yourself. If you know you’re qualified enough to land the job, don’t put on a facade during your interview, new research finds.
Researchers at a handful of European and Asian universities conducted three related studies to measure whether authenticity during the employment selection process could improve one’s chances at getting the job.
The first two studies looked at how one’s level of “self-verifying” behavior — or their desire for others to know them as they self-identify — affected their performance in interview settings.
One of these studies examined more than 1,200 international teachers who had decided to apply for a teaching job in the U.S.
Fifty-one percent of the job seekers who were deemed “high-quality” applicants received the teaching position, a figure that increased to 73 percent for those who also had a strong drive to self-verify, the researchers found.
The second study examined 333 lawyers who applied for a selective position within the U.S. military.
High-quality applicants who did not demonstrate strong self-verifying behaviors only had a three percent chance of getting the job; conversely, those who showed a strong drive for self-verifying behavior had a 17 percent shot.
“People are often encouraged to only present the best aspects of themselves at interview so they appear more attractive to employers, but what we’ve found is that high-quality candidates – the top 10% – fare much better when they present who they really are,” says Dr. SunYoung Lee, the study’s co-author, in a media release from the University College London.
The final of the three studies sought to examine exactly what about self-verifying behavior, or a lack thereof, led to such a substantial disparity in job interview performance.
Ultimately, those with a tendency toward self-verifying behavior communicated in a more fluid manner, the researchers noticed, leading interviewers to believe they had found a more genuine candidate.
Note that if you’re not among the top 10 percent of candidates for a job, being completely honest with your interviewer may backfire.
“Unfortunately, the same [findings] aren’t true for poorer quality candidates who can actually damage their chances of being offered the job by being more authentic,” says Lee.
The researchers’ full findings were published in this month’s edition of the Journal of Applied Psychology.
So, in summary. If you are a well qualified candidate, be yourself. If you are not a well qualified candidate, try to bluff as though you are.