A job interview is an interpersonal guessing game. The job seeker tries to guess what the interviewer wants to hear. Of course, you shouldn’t bend over completely in the interview. But a little mimicry is always involved here. Because if you want to please, you inevitably try to satisfy the needs of the other side. However, scientists have found that being more egocentric is actually a recipe for success in job interviews.
Fulfillment or career?
“I’m looking for a job that fulfills me” or “I want to have a career” – what is the better answer to the question of why you applied to this company of all places? Most people tend to go for the second solution when interviewing. Because it shows: the applicant is goal-oriented, has ambition and knows how to appreciate the advantages of the potential employer. However, this choice is a mistake, as the economists Kaitlin Woolley (Cornell University) and Ayelet Fishbach (University of Chicago) have found.
They published their study in the journal “Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes”. The study concluded that applicants greatly underestimate the role of so-called intrinsic motivation. This means motivation that arises from personal interest and personal incentives. “I love my job” or “I am looking for a job that fulfills me” are examples of how intrinsic motivation is expressed. Applicants, however, believe that extrinsic motivation is required in the interview, as the researchers found. With extrinsic motivation, the impetus for action comes from outside. “I want to advance my career” is an example of this.
Sincerity is convincing
In five rounds, Woolley and Fishbach asked a total of 1,428 students and employees which statements were best received in job interviews. The majority believed they scored points with extrinsic motivation. In fact, however, it was precisely the self-motivation for a job that helped decision-makers to break through. Because they are only human and react positively to such a personally motivated attitude towards work.
According to the experts, many applicants fail because they misjudge the expectations of the other side. They want to impress, but neglect their real strengths. The candidates usually only became convincing after being asked to put themselves in the interviewer’s shoes. After this change of perspective, they emphasized much more self-motivation for the application.