Research suggests that narcissists do well in interviews. And research also suggests that investment banks may be prone to hiring narcissists for their graduate recruitment schemes. If you exhibit narcissistic behaviors in your banking interview, you should therefore increase your chances of getting a job offer at the end of it.
What does narcissistic behavior involve? Research by academics at the University of British Columbia found that a particular combination of narcissistic traits win over interviewers. If you’re a narcissist in an interview, here’s how you get people on your side:
1. Narcissists in interviews actively ‘self promote’
Narcissists aren’t happy to let their CV speak for itself. They draw attention to their achievements, repetitively. “Applicants should emulate narcissists and repeatedly call attention to the best of their credentials,” advise the academics. Emphasise your assets. In any other situation, this would turn people away, but in an interview situation it goes down well.
2. Narcissists in interviews increase their self-promotion in relation to the importance of their interviewer
Narcissists don’t want to impress just anyone. They think they’re important and they therefore want to impress important people. The more authoritative the interviewer, the greater effort the narcissist will put into impressing them. In other words, if you’re interviewing with an MD, you need to lay it on very thick.
3. Narcissists in interviews talk – a lot – about how good they are
The academics found that narcissistic interviewees were distinguished by the amount they spoke. Narcissists had ‘higher word volume.’ However, they weren’t talking about the weather or the requirements of the job, they were talking (again) about how good they are. “The rate of positive self-comments gave narcissists the advantage,” say the academics. However, don’t overstate your credentials – exaggeration undermines narcissists in interview situations.
4. Non-narcissists in interviews lose out because they use a ‘tactical modesty’ strategy
The British Columbian researchers found that Asians tend to lose out particularly in interviews. South East Asians are culturally not very narcissistic. SE Asians think that self-deprecation will help warm them to interviewers, but this merely makes them look weak alongside the Western narcissists crowing about their achievements.
5. Supplement your narcissistic interview style with ingratiating behaviors
The academics identify five forms of ‘self-presentation’ strategies which you can employ in an effort to impress. While narcissists go for the self-promotion behaviors on the left of the chart below, you can also employ some of the ingratiating behaviors on the right. Tactical modesty fails in an interview situation, but both humor (laughing at the interviewer’s jokes) and smiling warmly will go down well, it seems.