Job interviews reward narcissists

Self-presentation style in job interviews: the role of personality and culture, a UBC study presented in the Journal of Applied Social Psychology found that job interviews were optimized for self-aggrandizing narcissists, while people from cultures that value modesty and self-effacement fared poorly (it probably helps that everyone conducting a job interview had to pass a job interview to get that job, making them more likely to have confidence in the process). (via Reddit)

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  1. It would be interesting to see how this applies to technical interviews. I'm sure there's a role, but most of the engineers at my place would never be mistaken for salespeople (except the ones whose job that is, self-selected). But we can tell if you're faking it when we talk about motor control, for instance. Introverted people tend to do okay in the interview as long as they can answer the questions and have a good resume - that's the big place to sell yourself.

    But I imagine when you're dealing with subjects with little in the way of obvious hard things to check, like manager of people at a corporation, then it's like the essay question on an English test. Bullshit away!

  2. Ethel says:

    True, true. Reminds me that in the judicial system in Alaska one has to remember that if someone is from one of the coastal tribes and accused you are socially expected to appear guilty even if you are not. In the tribe if you appear guilty you are less likely to be punished, but in European based culture it is the other way around, the appearance of guilt implies guilt. And fyi I don't interview well, not the way I was raised (keep your head down, don't look your elder in the eye, don't talk too much or first, wait to respond, definitely do not brag...)

  3. Oh good, yet another thing for the sensitive, introverted and polite to have to contend with.

  4. You can also be oblivious to your behavior and think you're being polite or sensitive.

  5. I can't speak for oldtaku, but having studied the Humanities myself and been in extensive contact with academics of many stripes, I'd say yes, that'd be very surprising.

    It's one thing to discern someone who lacks actual knowledge of things like literature, history, philosophy, and art, because you can just start a conversation with them about things they ought to know in those fields. You can't just fake that kind of knowledge - you have to know your history, you have to know your literary authors, you have to know the schools of philosophical thought, and you have to know the artists.

    But "management"? Many companies don't fill those positions based on hard numbers and proof of an applicant's ability pertaining worker and resource efficiency - they base it on things like how good an applicant's appearance is, how well they sell themselves, and how closely they adhere to the corporate culture already in place.

    Most managerial positions don't require proof of competance. They don't ask for portfolios of your prior work, and they don't test your aptitude or skills in actually managing people. They simply look to see if you walk the walk, talk the talk, wear the suit, and lick the boot.

    They want the bold and brash shyster who can talk their way into the position without any clue what they're actually doing, not the humdrum boring thinker who crunches actual numbers to find ways to increase efficiency and who understands human motivation and psychology beyond making people miserable via passive aggression and petty schoolyard manipulations.

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