Keeping It Real Will Get You The Job, Study Finds

Does the word “authentic” resonate with you? When you walk into a job interview, do want to be known for your strong beliefs and feelings about yourself? If so, congrats, because a new study suggests that people who hiring managers see as “authentic” because they want to be known for their strong beliefs and feelings become high-quality candidates who are more likely to get job offers.

To put self-verification in context, the authors of the study kicked off their paper with reference to Andy Sachs, Anne Hathaway’s frumpy The Devil Wears Prada character. Despite not being the chicest candidate for the fashion magazine job, she likely lands it because, ever-comfy in her frumpiness, she is more than just qualified — she is true to herself.

A social and psychological theory, self-verification “proposes that people prefer others to see them as they see themselves.” For this study, published in the Journal of Applied Psychology, the researchers wanted to observe if self-verifiers like the mythical Andy Sachs were better at landing jobs; to assess if these candidates’ sense of personal authenticity ultimately leads them to “flourish or flounder in the job market.”

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A Closer Look at the Research

The researchers looked at two different field samples from placement data, and discovered that those rated within the top 10 percent of candidates by companies were more apt to land jobs if they “showed a stronger drive to self-verify.”

They conducted a separate study using what they refer to as a “quasi-experimental design,” to further explore how self-verification is expressed, testing people to either be “high or low on this disposition,” and observing how they communicated in mock interviews.

After analyzing the transcripts of these interviews, researchers saw “systematic differences in candidates’ use of language as a function of their self-verification drive.”

A Closer Look at the Results

The strong self-verifier types, identified through their use of language, were seen by an expert rater as less “inauthentic and less misrepresentative than their low self-verifying peers,” which she said would make her more inclined to recommend these candidates for a position.

These results confirm what many of us have felt all along: that authenticity matters, that being transparent and staying true to one’s self is elemental to being a part of something, especially the workforce. By self-verifying, the researchers suggest, candidates amplify their chances that hiring managers see them as high-quality candidates, a status that can very quickly turn into a real job offer.

More Benefits of Self-Verification

Even though the researchers explored this question to observe implications for job applicants, organizations, and the labor market, the practice and mindset of “keeping it real” is not only beneficial for work. The researchers also discuss how self-verification helps people with anxiety, citing another study, whose findings look to the role self-verification plays in coping with stress.

Being yourself seems like a simple concept — but many of us take it for granted. So, as you walk out the door tomorrow morning, consider that the basic starting point of truly being yourself might be the very thing that ultimately makes you feel, be and appear as your most optimal self.

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