Why women do better than men in job interviews
Washington: Women, although typically more stressed about interviewing, perform better than their male counterparts in job interviews because they handle stress better than guys, say researchers.
That is the finding of new research by three University of Western Ontario researchers who looked at how men and women handled the stresses of job interviews.
“We conducted two different studies,” Live Science quoted Justin Feeney, a doctoral student who participated on the research team, as telling BusinessNewsDaily.
Feeney conducted the research with Julie McCarthy, a professor at the Rotman School of Management, Richard Goffin, professor of industrial psychology, all of the University of Western Ontario.
“The first one examined the effects of job interview anxiety on job interview performance and we confirmed previous research that interview anxiety is a negative predictor of performance. Then what we looked at was whether gender influenced these findings. We found that even though women experienced more interview anxiety than men, it didn’t affect their performance as much as it did for men. We were curious of why that was,” Feeney stated.
That curiosity drove the researchers to look further into why there was a difference between men and women in interviews. To determine this, the researchers conducted simulated interviews in more than 400 students at the university to see the coping mechanisms those students employed.
“We tailored an instrument that measured coping styles of men and women in interviews and what we found was women adapted more proactively than did men,” Feeney said.
“They would do things like seek social support from loved ones, friends and colleagues about their anxiety and do practical things like practicing mock interviews with their friends. Men, on the other hand, reacted with more maladaptive coping strategies. They would pretend it was not happening, ignore it, watch TV and do things that relieved stress, but hindered performance later,” he explained.
While the findings of this research may be useful for interviewees, they also have significance for businesses looking to hire. Since businesses also have a lot to lose by hiring the wrong person, Feeney warns businesses not to simply look to the interview as the ultimate predictor of future success or failure.
“Research is showing that anxiety actually impairs the validity of the instrument. You will actually end up making poor hiring decisions as a result of anxiety,” noted Feeney.
“Based on the current research, I would suggest really practically focusing on how to improve their performance. Practice mock interviews and read books on interviews so you can increase your self-efficacy. Talk to friends and family about the interview and how to deal with the anxiety,” Feeney concluded.