Act Enthused For That Job

STANFORD, CA – Standford University/Stanford News Service, July 6, 2018, released a press release offering the following information.  Article was written by Melissa De Witte.

Job applicants who want to appear calm and collected might be at a disadvantage.  According to a new Stanford study, American employers are more likely to favor excited over relaxed candidates.

This is one of several findings psychology Professor Jeanne Tsai and former graduate student Lucy Zhang Bencharit reveal in a paper published July 5 in Emotion that examines how the cultural differences of how emotions are displayed could bias hiring decisions.

“Given how diverse our workforce is and how global our markets are, it’s important to understand how culture might influence emotional preferences in employment settings,” said Tsai, who directs the Culture and Emotion Lab in the Psychology Department at Stanford’s School for Humanities and Sciences.

The paper’s co-authors also include scholars from the City University of Hong Kong, the Chinese University of Hong Kong, Northwestern University and the Environmental Defense Fund.

Putting your best face forward

People’s behavior can be influenced by the emotional states they value and want to feel – what Tsai calls their ideal affect.  It’s how a person wants others to see them, even if they might not feel that way, like trying to appear at ease at a job interview (when the person really is a ball of nerves).

But as Tsai has found in prior research studies, the emotions people value, and in turn display, vary across culture.  How might these cultural differences influence candidates and their hiring managers on job interviews?

To find out, the researchers conducted five studies that included a total of 1,041 participants in five different workplace scenarios.  In four of the studies, the scholars compared European Americans and Asian Americans living in the United States with Chinese living in Hong Kong.

In one experiment, participants were asked to imagine they wanted a competitive internship. They were then asked to fill out an application, including a video introducing themselves.  At the end of their application, they were asked which emotions they wanted to convey.

The researchers found that what is interpreted as the “best impression” varies from person to person and from culture to culture.

European Americans were more likely to convey excitement and enthusiasm than Hong Kong Chinese, who desired calm and even-tempered states.

In their first study with 236 participants, 86 percent of European Americans and 72 percent of Asian Americans wanted to convey excitement rather than calm.  In comparison, only 48 percent of Hong Kong Chinese wanted to show excitement, said Bencharit.

These values were also reflected in their applications.  For example, European Americans were more likely than Hong Kong Chinese to show their excitement with phrases like “I’m really enthusiastic about this position” and “I am passionate about the work.”

“How we want to feel and what our culture tells us is the right way to be influences how we present ourselves when we are applying for a job,” said Tsai about their findings.

By: St. Louis media

Pic: CCN

Posted in All Stories, Annoucer Blogs, Kent Chambers Tagged with: , , ,

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