The first study, using a sample of teachers from around the globe applying for placements in the U.S., found that—for candidates that had been evaluated as high quality—having a strong drive to self-verify increased the likelihood of receiving a placement from 51% to 73%. The second study replicated this effect in a radically different sample: lawyers applying for positions in a branch of the U.S. military, for whom high quality candidates increased their chances of receiving a job offer five-fold, from 3% to 17%, if they had a strong drive to self-verify. An important caveat: this effect depends on meeting the bar of quality. For candidates rated as low quality, the drive to self-verify weakens their position.
A third study was designed to test the mechanism behind this effect. The scholars surveyed 300 people on their self-verification striving, and selected those who were extremely high and extremely low in the distribution. These individuals participated in a mock job interview, which were then transcribed and submitted to text analysis. It revealed differences in candidates’ language use as a function of their self-verification drive. People with a strong self-verification drive communicated in a more fluid way about themselves, and were ultimately perceived as more authentic and less misrepresentative. “They use more ‘function words’ (prepositions, pronouns, auxiliary verbs) which reflects how fluidly an individual speaks, as well as more ‘seeing words’ (such as ‘look’, ‘see’, ‘view’)”, Daniel Cable explains. These perceptions ultimately explain why high-self-verifying candidate can flourish on the job market.
“In a job interview”, Celia Moore says, “we often try to present ourselves as perfect. Our study proves this instinct wrong. Interviewers perceive an overly polished self-representation as inauthentic and potentially misrepresentative. But ultimately, if you are a high-quality candidate, you can be yourself on the job market. You can be honest and authentic. And if you are, you will be more likely to get a job”.