Two people are standing before you in bikinis, both in excellent shape. One has never had any problem staying fit. No matter what she eats, she’s always been thin. The other had her first child six months ago. Which person impresses you more?
If you’re like most of us, you said the person who just had a baby. The difficulty and effort are more impressive than the natural ability. That’s hard work over talent – given the same results.
But, according to a new study from psychologist Janina Steinmetz, it goes deeper than that. Given that same scenario you are more likely to think the person who worked hard is also warmer and more personable.
As a recruiter, this may seem irrelevant on its surface. But it’s not.
The study was really focused on two types of questions. In one scenario it was an interview. The answers reflected either effort or talent. The other scenario was dating with the same comparison. In both cases hard work was not just preferred, but made the person seem friendlier and more relatable.
Our candidates are in the direct line of fire with this. We need to understand the hard-working candidate is more likely to have a more successful interview. We also should be aware of this when we are interviewing and when we’re doing business development. The executives who are deciding if we get hired want our answers to show not our talent for recruiting, not our passion, but the obstacles we’ve encountered and how we’ve removed those roadblocks from our career.
We could theorize this comes from the moral value put on hard work by the Puritans and other early founders of the States. Or perhaps, we just assume someone with an innate ability is a jerk about it thanks to years of experience.
Either way, when telling your “story” to the decision makers, make it a good one. We cover this technique, examples, and the story rewrite in our Client Cornucopia class. And reach out to me if you’d like a link to an article about that study.