In a job interview, how much should you reveal? Researchers at University College London say that depends on how good a candidate you are.
The research focused on the concept of ‘self-verification’, which refers to individuals’ drive to be known and understood by others according to their firmly held beliefs and feelings about themselves.
The study showed that high quality job prospects who came off as too polished were deemed as inauthentic by interviewers. If they had scored high in self-verification, on the other hand, they presented themselves more honestly and were more likely to be hired.
The reverse happened to lower quality candidates. Authenticity reduced their chances at getting the job.
What are the lessons here? First, I guess you’d better know if you are highly qualified or not. If you are, feel free to be yourself.
Secondly, if you are not highly qualified, why are you applying for the job anyway? And if you insist upon applying, you’ll do better if you put on an act.
The researchers say that authentic behavior has been proven to lead to good outcomes over time in a job setting, but this study is the first to show that good outcomes also occur in short-term interpersonal interactions like an interview.
From my own personal experience in the workforce, I question these findings. It has always seemed to me that it was the most inauthentic people who did well in both short- and long-term interactions. I’ve never found honesty to be highly valued in corporate America.
Am I too cynical? What has been your experience?