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Cultural differences in a job interview

Posted May 14, 2014

Most of us took part in a job interview in some part of our lives. But how do people act, when they try to get a job? Is their behavior similar in different countries? Or perhaps it varies significantly? An international team of researchers made an attempt to answer these questions. In order to attain this goal they carried out psychological tests in 10 different locations. And they have discovered cultural differences.

The scientists investigated how behavior during a job interview is affected by cultural norms.

Picture: Job Interview. Year: 2010. Credit: /Flickr

Picture: Job Interview. Year: 2010. Credit: bpsusf/Flickr, CC BY 2.0

For instance, they were interested, whether the difference between collectivistic and individual cultures can explain distinctive behavior of job candidates. They have distinguished four main tactics: assertiveness, emphasizing of individual excellence, accommodation, and pointing out obstacles. “Assertiveness involves expressing enthusiasm, confidence, self-discipline, and independence,“ the psychologists explain.

Statistical analysis showed that cultural differences can account for different behavior during a job interview. “Consistent with our hypotheses, a large proportion of the variance in self-presentation tactics, on average 44%, could be explained by cultural value orientations,“ the scientists write.

The study revealed that respondents from Asian and African countries incline to use self-defensive style. They emphasize their personal achievements and often point out to various obstacles. This result can be explained by the fact that these countries are collectivistic. People are firmly embedded in the social relations and are under strong social pressure. “The consequences of loss of face tend to be more serious in embedded (e.g., Asian) cultures than in autonomy-oriented (Western) cultures,“ the scientists specify. People have a tendency to lay stress on their own worth in such societal environment.

In contrast, Western Europeans were less enthusiastic about attempts to impress their future employers. They also avoided mentioning obstacles. Personal autonomy is valued in these countries. “Autonomy is negatively related to self-presentation efforts in general, to accommodation, and most notably to pointing out obstacles,“ the scholars say.  Interestingly, Americans achieved high scores on all scales. The researchers argue that their results are in line with cultural practices about “selling oneself” in employment contexts in the United States.

Article: Intended Self-Presentation Tactics in Job Interviews: A 10-Country Study, Gro M. Sandal, Fons van de Vijver, Hege H. Bye, David L. Sam, Benjamin Amponsah, Nigar Cakar, Gabriele H. Franke, Rosnah Ismail, Kristine Kjellsen, Ankica Kosic, Anne Leontieva, Shahrnaz, Mortazavi and Catherine Tien-Lun Sun, Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology,5 May 2014, DOI: 10.1177/0022022114532353, source link.

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