It’s official. Talking about ourselves makes us feel good. It triggers the same positive feelings in the brain as food and money, according to a new study by Harvard University neuroscientists.
So we make it “all about me” as much as we can. The research shows at least 40% of our everyday speech is spent telling people what we think or feel. In fact, yapping about ourselves is so gratifying that according to Diana Tamir who led the study, “People are even willing to forego money to talk about themselves.”
Researchers offered volunteers money to answer questions about others, instead of themselves. Despite the financial incentive, the great majority of people defaulted to talking about themselves, which cost them 17% to 25% of potential earnings from the test.
For job-hunters, this is news to take to heart. If you find you can’t stop talking in an interview, it may be because you are trying to help yourself feel good in a stressful situation. Be that as it may, you don’t want to be like those study volunteers and forego the potential of earning money because you jabbered too much.
Of course, you must talk about yourself in an interview, but the key is to “show not tell.” In other words, share actual examples that show your skills and leadership in action, instead of simply telling how good you are.
Recently, Geoff Bagg, CEO of The Bagg Group, said on Global Morning television that job-hunters who are truly passionate about their particular profession, shouldn’t give up on it. He noted that those who are passionate about a type of work strive to be the best they can be which gives them a step up on the competition.
However, the “show don’t tell” rule holds too when speaking of your passion in an interview. It may make us feel great to talk about things we love, but a job interviewer needs solid, tangible evidence of our passion – and our commitment to it.
Forbes magazine ran an article warning job-hunters that interviewers get annoyed with claims of passion if you can’t back these up with demonstrable skills, background or expertise. “It’s a case of style without substance,” says writer Caroline Ceniza-Levine.
Recruiters at The Bagg Group have been coaching candidates to “show not tell” to win full-time positions, contract work and part-time placements with the best companies in the GTA for decades. It works. The Bagg Group has place more than 57,000 people over the past 40+ years.
Here are three key tips from recruiters at The Bagg Group for demonstrating your passion.
Passion doesn’t just happen 9 –5: If you don’t have workplace experience in your area of passion to share, offer examples of your volunteer work, or activities that you do on the side, that speak to it.
Passion is informed: Be prepared to show you know about what you love through talking about the latest trends or innovations in your area of interest. Look for links between the company’s business interests and your passion.
Birds of a feather flock together: Make it a point to seek a network of contacts who share your passion. This is a great way to extend your contacts. As well, being able to point out that you’re a member of a particular association is another way to substantiate your interest.
If talking makes us feel good, offering concrete examples of our enthusiasm and our skills makes an interviewer feel great about us.
And remember, no matter how many neurons light up in our brain when we make the conversation “all about me”, in an interview, the focus must be “all about what I can do for you (the company)” to make the interviewer’s brain light up.