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Love yourself – a little

Iain Henderson

Faculty Blog

Heriot-Watt has been holding graduation ceremonies this week for EBS' DBA, MSC and MBA graduates.    Naturally Principal Steve Chapman congratulated the graduates and wished them well in their future endeavours. He exhorted them to take ambitious actions in their careers, but it seems there might be one other piece of advice they might need in looking for their next job.

The CIPD magazine People Management (20 June 2014) reports that a study by psychologists at the University of British Columbia, led by Professor Del Paulhus, has found that narcissistic applicants are more successful in job interviews than modest candidates, even if they are just as qualified. The findings also suggest that job seekers from cultural backgrounds that value humility, such as Japanese, Chinese and Korean, may be at a disadvantage in seeking employment.

Researchers used questionnaires to measure participants’ levels of narcissism then held simulated job interviews which were recorded and analysed.  The researchers found that narcissistic participants tended to talk about themselves, make eye contact, tell jokes and ask the interviewers more questions. As a result, narcissists came across as more attractive job candidates. Participants of Japanese, Chinese and Korean backgrounds tended to be more modest and were less likely to be rated as ‘must-hire candidates’ and even Asian raters tended to criticise the more modest job applicants.

But while narcissists make strong first impressions people eventually catch to the narcissistic behaviour. Prof. Paulhus said the study’s findings suggest that learning how to become “a narcissist for a day is a good strategy.”

Paulhus said that the research highlights important lessons for both recruiters and job candidates. “Candidates should engage with the interviewer while continuing to self-promote. Interviewers should look beyond cultural style and assess individual qualifications. Instead of superficial charm, interviewers must analyse candidates’ potential long-term fit in the organisation.”

Just what we have always said in OB and HRM…..

Oil on canvas

Oil on canvas (Photo credit: Wikipedia)