PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Two recent studies are helping to shed light on the job interview process, and the findings aren’t very encouraging for some.
In one study, researchers from the University of British Columbia found that narcissists tend to do better in an interview setting.
First, the scientists had study participants fill out a questionnaire to determine their level of narcissism. The subjects then simulated being a job applicant on video. Finally, 222 people evaluated those videos, rating the applicants on how likely they were to hire them.
What the scientists found is that “chronic self-promoters” of Western descent were the most likely interviewees to receive a positive rating. Meanwhile, people of Asian descent were the least likely to receive the “definitely hire” assessment, possibly due to the value those cultures place on humility.
“A job interview is one of the few social situations where narcissistic behaviours such as boasting actually create a positive impression. Normally, people are put off by such behaviour, especially over repeated exposure,” says Del Paulhus, of the University’s psychology department.
Furthermore, “the pro-narcissism bias results in an indirect cultural bias – particularly against East Asians.”
And it’s not only the more modest who are less likely to be hired, but also the outwardly religious.
In another recent study from the University of Connecticut, experts found that those who indicated signs of religious beliefs on their resume were less likely to be hired than those who kept their materials religion-free.
Researchers reportedly tested this in both New England and the South by submitting resumes via CareerBuilder for entry-level jobs in a variety of fields. Those resumes had purposely non-descript, made-up names and included mention of either one of seven different religions (including one fabricated one, “Wallonian”) or no mention of religion at all.
Overall, Muslims were the least likely to get a call for an interview in both regions. And while New Englanders were slightly more tolerant of religious beliefs, “applicants” who mentioned their faith on their resume were less likely to be interviewed in both parts of the country, particularly if they were Muslim.
“Just by adding the word ‘Muslim’ to an application, its chances of receiving an employer contact were reduced by between a third and almost half,” professor of sociology Michael Wallace and lead researcher on the study told the school’s blog. “What these studies suggest is that there’s a reluctance to even engage job applicants who might be Muslim just because they’re Muslim, which should give anyone who cares about equal opportunity cause for concern.”
So, what does the recent research tell job-seekers?
First, applicants shouldn’t fear “bragging” in an interview. If there’s a place to boast, it’s apparently when you’re applying for a job. Secondly, leave your religion off your resume, unless it’s somehow indicative of your work experience.