Category: Journal of Applied Social Psychology

Job interviews reward Narcissists and punish modest job applicants

A study by UBC Psychology Prof. Del Paulhus finds that Narcissistic applicants are more successful in job interviews than equally qualified candidates who act more modestly.

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.

A job interview is one of the few social situations where narcissistic behaviours such as boasting actually create a positive impression,” says Paulhus, the lead author of the study. “Normally, people are put off by such behaviour, especially over repeated exposure.

Before placing participants in job interview scenarios, researchers used questionnaires to measure their levels of narcissism. The study found that people who rated as narcissists were viewed as more attractive job candidates.

Videotapes of the interviews were later scored by a team of raters. Narcissists tended to talk about themselves, make eye contact, joke around and ask the interviewers more questions. As a result, the study found that people rated narcissists as more attractive candidates for the position.

The researchers also found that participants of Japanese, Chinese and Korean heritage exhibited lower levels of narcissism, and were less likely to receive “definitely hire” ratings as a result. “The pro-narcissism bias results in an indirect cultural bias – particularly against East Asians,” says Paulhus.

Paulhus says the study offers important lessons for job candidates and interviewers alike. “Candidates should engage with the interviewer while continuing to self-promote,” he says. “Interviewers should look beyond cultural style and assess individual qualifications. Instead of superficial charm, interviewers must analyze candidates’ potential long-term fit in the organization.

The study was published by the Journal of Applied Social Psychology in October 2013 and can be found here.

Prof. Delroy L. Paulhus
UBC Psychology
Tel: 604-822-3286

This article is courtesy of the University of British Columbia. Click on this link to visit the UBC website to view the article on their website.

Click on this Link to visit the CBC TV website to see their post about this research. This site also features a video of an interview with Prof Del Paulhus.

One thing that I’d like to add. If a Narcissist is doing the hiring, then they can relate to the behaviour of other Narcissists. Narcs of a feather do flock together. Different types of Narcissists seek out different Narcissist Supply. For example a Cerebral Narc will seek supply from people with higher levels of education. Not an issue with Somatic Narcs and so Somatic Narcissists can coexist with Cerebral Narcissist, because they will not compete for Narcissistic Supply. They can actually provide each other Narcissistic Supply, if needed.

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