People who need to make a good impression in job interviews should concentrate on communicating the hard work and effort behind their success, rather than just emphasizing their talent, new research from Cass Business School has found.
In Impression (Mis) Management When Communicating Success, published in Basic and Applied Social Psychology, Dr Janina Steinmetz investigated how people attribute their success in job interviews, and whether these attributions were successful with their audiences.
She found — contrary to what many of us think — that success alone may not be enough to make a positive impression. Instead, she suggests that people should ensure they talk about the struggle behind their story to appear more likeable.
Dr Steinmetz conducted three experiments with participants from the United States and the Netherlands, with people from all age ranges (18-75) and with an even gender balance between male and female. Two of the experiments emulated job interviews (using working adults). Participants were asked to imagine themselves in the role of the impression manager (interviewee) or the receiver (interviewer).
The "impression manager" was asked to speak about themselves in a positive way and feedback was given by the receiver detailing what they wanted to hear more about.
All experiments found the impression managers overemphasized their talents and successes and did not share the effort and hard work behind them — something that the receivers wanted to hear about.
Dr Steinmetz said it was clear that communicating success and talent in job interviews is important but it is just as important to tell the story of the hard work and effort behind it to create a warmer, positive, more relatable first impression.