CAREER The ultimate guide to a stellar career—from finding your dream job to quitting gracefully. (Plus, the new “power hair.”)
Expert tips on how to negotiate a raise, get perfect power hair and network your way to your dream job.
ACE AN INTERVIEW
SKIP LUNCH BUT PROBABLY NOT BREAKFAST.
A 2014 study called “I Need Food and I Deserve a Raise: People Feel More Entitled When Hungry” by two professors from New York’s Cornell University and New Hampshire’s Dartmouth College found that hunger can generate an extra boost of entitlement and make you feel more assertive and confident in an interview. But the researchers also found that hunger might intensify your personality a little too much. So don’t get too #hangry. BE SIMILAR, BUT BE TRUTHFUL. How well you fit in at a company matters. A lot. Your qualifications and experience can land you the interview, but research by Lauren Rivera, associate professor at the Kellogg School of Management in Illinois, shows that the most common way you’ll be evaluated during a job interview is by how similar you are to your interviewer. Rivera interviewed 120 hiring professionals at top banking, consulting and law firms and was given an all-access pass to the recruiting process at one of the companies. She found that candidates who shared hobbies, experiences and personality traits with their interviewers stood a better chance of getting hired. She concluded that this is because employers want to hire people who fit with their brand and culture and interviewers believe that an applicant with a similar background (for example, both are math grads) is a better candidate. Despite these findings, Rivera warns candidates not to stretch the truth. She says it’s better to find common
ground in an authentic way if you want to end up at a company that is the right fit for you.
BE IMPRESSIVE, BUT KNOW WHEN TO STOP. You’re bowling over your potential new boss with a laundry list of accomplishments—an honours degree, top salesperson three years in a row, first female exec at your firm...and only two semesters of French in college? Even if la belle langue is relevant for the position, because of a phenomenon known as the “Presenter’s Paradox,” including one mediocre accomplishment in a list of achievements brings down your average impressiveness rather than giving it a minimal boost. BE HONEST, BUT DON’T HUMBLEBRAG. Long before the late comedian (and Parks and Recreation producer) Harris Wittels made a Twitter handle dedicated to the “humblebrag”—eventually leading to the term’s inclusion on OxfordDictionaries.com — many an interviewee was unknowingly humblebragging his or her way through the most dreaded interview question: What’s your greatest weakness? This was definitely the wrong move, according to researchers at Harvard Business School. They asked 122 university students to answer the classic question and analyzed the results: 77 percent of the participants humblebragged with answers like “I am a perfectionist at times” or “My inability to be mean to co-workers” while the other 23 percent listed what were perceived to be real weaknesses, such as an inability to meet deadlines. Students were then rated by research assistants: Those who’d bragged about their so-called weaknesses were less likely to get hired than those who’d responded with an honest answer. MOLLY DOAN