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Calm Job Applicants May Be at a Disadvantage When It Comes to Getting Hired, Study Finds

Recruiters talk to a job applicant. Psychology researchers at Stanford University found that job applicants who wanted to appear calm and collected might be at a disadvantage, since American employers were more likely to favor excited candidates over relaxed ones. MediaForMedical/UIG via Getty Images

Jul 16 2018

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Faculty, In the News

A job search can stir plenty of anxious emotions, and how those emotions surface during a job interview could make or break your chances of getting hired.

Psychology researchers at Stanford University found that job applicants who wanted to appear calm and collected might be at a disadvantage, since American employers were more likely to favor excited candidates over relaxed ones.

This could mean that people who try to come off as more relaxed could be turned down during the search process, according to a new study published in the journal Emotion.

“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,” Jeanne Tsai, a co-author of the study and a Stanford professor, said in a statement.

Our behavior can be influenced by the emotional states we value and want to feel. But the emotions people value, and in turn display, vary across culture, Tsai has found in prior research studies.

That might cause employers to hire people with backgrounds similar to their own.