There was a very interesting study done at the University of British Columbia where narcissistic behavior was studied in context of job interviews. According to UBC Psychology Prof. Del Paulhus,
“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.”
The study was conducted by having participants answer questions to rate their narcissism, then be observed in a job interview scenario. Those who fell higher on the narcissism scale made more eye contact, asked questions, talked about themselves, and joked around a bit. This made them more attractive as candidates despite the reality of what they’d be like as coworkers.
It’s also interesting that a cultural bias was observed, where candidates from cultures emphasizing humility (as do many Asian countries) did not impress as well during the interview despite being equally qualified. I think many women also have been trained to avoid being pushy and this would apply to that as well.
Interviews Need Some Narcissism
There’s a difference between a self-inflated egoist and a legitimately confident candidate. If you are qualified for the position and have the resume to show it, you’ve got healthy reasons to talk about why you are the best fit for the job. Your qualifications are the foundation of your confidence and you just need to look at yourself carefully to build on it.
- Making eye contact is a skill that takes practice if you aren’t used to it. Remind yourself to do this with people you talk to all the time and it will get easier.
- Asking questions also takes some skill. Do some research on questions to ask at your job interview and be prepared.
- Talking about yourself isn’t comfortable if it was discouraged in your past. Think about the reason you are talking; they need to know if you will be a good fit for their company. Help them know you by sharing who you are.
- Joking around a bit can backfire if you really are a narcissist because there’s an insensitivity to people around you. But being comfortable enough to joke makes everything a little less stressed.
The question in the title was, “does your ego show during the interview?” The answer to that question depends on how you view “ego”, but there’s truth to the idea that who you are needs to come across when you sit in the interview chair. Narcissists aren’t afraid to talk about who they are, and that’s why they make such good impressions in job interviews.