It’s understandable for interviewees to be nervous, but it turns out men show their anxiety more than women.
A new study from the University of Guelph found no difference between how much anxiety males and females said they felt during an interview, but when it came to performance the men were in a worse position. “One of the big questions that we had with my thesis was in terms of gender differences with interview anxiety,” research lead Amanda Feiler said. “Do men experience more anxiety than women, or is it vice versa? And is the effect worse for men than it is for women?” she questioned.
Researchers studied the responses of 125 participants who went through a mock interview process for positions with companies they were interested in working for. Both parties were asked to rate the anxiety levels of candidates. “What we actually found is that there were no gender differences between men and women in terms of their self-reported and interviewer-reported anxiety, but that men suffered greater impairments in terms of interview performance than anxious females did,” Feiler said.
Co-researcher Dr Deborah Powell said they originally wanted to see the correlation between how people rated their own anxiety and how interviewers rated their anxiety, in addition to how anxiety affected a candidate’s performance.
Other researchers have suggested women generally have better strategies for coping with anxiety, which may have helped them in this study. “In general, we’ve found that women tend to do more of the problem focus, so they’ll ask their friends to do mock interviews so they’ll feel more prepared. And in general, men will tend not to think about the problem that’s stressing them out,” said Powell.
“We don’t really know what the men and women did in this study, but that’s one of our hypotheses of what might have gone on.”
However, it was also possible that interviewers expected males to be more assertive and confident, and rated them poorly if they didn’t meet that expectation.
How do you put interviewees at ease? Or would you rather see how they manage stress?