“What the world needs is more geniuses with humility; there are so few of us left,” said Oscar Levant. He might be rightly referring to the notion that mark of a true genius isn’t humility. Apparently, that is precisely what is helping job applicants. It is the self-adoring, self-glorifying narcissists of the world that are bagging the most lucrative of jobs, while those who maintain a humble persona are often shown the door with a cold ‘We will get back to you’ response.
A new study has suggested that narcissistic applicants are far more successful in job interviews than equally qualified candidates who act more modestly. The research also found that applicants from countries with cultures that place greater emphasis on humility may find it a lot tougher to land a job they actually desire.
The study, which was conducted at the University of British Columbia, comprised of 72 participants who were videotaped as they simulated the role of a job applicant. Before the interview session, all the participants were subjected to a questionnaire that was supposed to measure their levels of narcissism.
Videotapes of the interviews were individually scored by a team of raters who observed the levels of narcissism exhibited by the candidate during the interview. They repeatedly observed that narcissists tended to talk about themselves, make good eye contact, joke around a lot and ask the interviewers many more questions, reported Phys.
As a result, the study found that people rated narcissists as more attractive candidates for positions. In other words, interviewers assumed these candidates to be outgoing and wanting to make acquaintances and increase contacts, a few traits that are must-haves in potential employees. On the other hand, the participants of Japanese, Chinese and Korean origin or cultural background exhibited much lower levels of narcissism and were less likely to receive “definitely hire” ratings as a result.
In other words, these candidates felt their strong resumes would speak for them instead of having an open and confident discussion with the interviewer. Needless to say, interviewers are always looking for people who are outspoken, confident and possess the ability to strike-up and maintain a healthy conversation.
The findings suggest that applicants from cultures that place greater emphasis on humility, including some Asian cultures, may have a harder time landing a job in North America.
UBC Psychology Prof. Del Paulhus, the lead author of the research, neatly summarized the study:
“A job interview is one of the few social situations where narcissistic behaviors such as boasting actually create a positive impression.”
Essentially, the professor suggested the study indicates “candidates should engage with the interviewer while continuing to self-promote.”
[Image Credit | Career Solutions]