Women might have a leg up on men when it comes to interviewing for a job, say researchers at the University of Western Toronto. The data from a new study suggest that the coping mechanisms women use to deal with pre-interview anxiety might ultimately better prepare them for the interview than those employed by men.
In a two-round study of a total of 421 volunteers, the researchers measured pre-interview anxiety and compared it to actual performance in an interview. Real-life interviewers were used to rate the interviewees.
Women reported a significantly greater amount of anxiety going into the interviews, but this moved them to prepare themselves by reading books, practicing interview questions, and seeking encouragement from friends. As a result, when the interview came around, they were better prepared and more confident, qualities that came through for the interviewers.
Men, on the other hand, reported less anxiety and tended to understate the importance of the interview. This may have reduced their stress levels, but it also caused them to spend less time practicing and less time seeking social support. Their performance suffered because of it.
The most interesting thing about their research, say Western Toronto team members, is that the behavior which yielded better interview results—while coming more naturally to women—could be adopted by anyone, male or female. Furthermore, it could be incorporated into formal interview training and preparation programs.
Source: The Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology