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The Competitive Advantage of Being Yourself in Interviews

Interviews can be stressful. You want to present yourself in a positive manner. Many often feel torn between being genuine and saying what they believe the interviewer wants to hear. Can being authentic truly be the best strategy when tackling a job interview?

Moore and colleagues (2017) examined this question in their study of self-verification. Self-verification refers to the intentional act of promoting an accurate reflection of one’s self. Whether a person will self-verify depends on that person and the given situation. Engaging in self-verification can have many positive outcomes including: reduced anxiety, positive health outcomes, and committed and stable relationships.

The goal of Moore and colleagues’ study was to examine whether individuals who self-verify were more likely to get hired than those who do not. The researchers used placement data from two different samples—individuals who engaged in self-verification and those who did not. They found that individuals that were more willing to self-verify were more likely to receive job offers.

The researchers were also interested in why these individuals were more likely to receive job offers. To answer this question, they used a quasi-experimental design and text analysis of interview transcripts. The results revealed that candidates who were more likely to self-verify were perceived as more authentic and less misrepresentative than their low self-verifying counterparts.

Moore, C., Lee, S. Y., Kim, K., & Cable, D. M. (2017). The advantage of being oneself: The role of applicant self-verification in organizational hiring decisions. Journal of Applied Psychology, 102(11), 1493.