Is that academically gifted, high-performing, twentysomething graduate trainee on your team an example of intelligence and ambition incarnate ?
Or is he simply an egomaniac with delusions about his own abilities ? If you work in an investment bank or professional services firm, the latter is a distinct possibility. Unintentionally, they may simply be hiring narcissists.
eFINANCIAL CAREERS reports that a recent PhD thesis from Jeff Simpson, a student at Massey University in New Zealand found that organisations that seek to attract graduates using elitist graduate marketing messages are particularly likely to attract egomaniacs.
Simpson looked at 75 recent recruits to the graduate programme of a professional services firm. Eleven were found to be narcissists.
Several things make investment banks particularly vulnerable to applications from self-lovers. Banks’ graduate recruiters say that at least 70% of their graduate applications are now from men – and men are more prone to egomania (in Simpson’s study, 64% of the narcissistic trainees were male).
Banks are also known as elitist status-heavy places which pay well. 'Organisations that use messages emphasizing status and money will attract more narcissistic applicants', confirmed Jean Twenge, a psychology professor at San Diego State University and co-author of book, The Narcissism Epidemic.
And banks are big on competency interviews for their graduate recruits. By providing an opportunity for individuals to talk confidently about their successes in the past, competency interviews just encourage narcissists, said Simpson: 'The competency-based interview is the ideal opportunity for narcissists to shine'.
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