Power gets the job: Priming power improves interview outcomes

J. Lammers, D. Dubois, D.D. Rucker, A.D. Galinsky

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

58 Citations (Scopus)


The current research explores whether momentary changes in power can shift professional interview outcomes. Two experiments manipulated power by asking applicants to recall a time they had or lacked power prior to writing a job application letter (Experiment 1) or being interviewed for admission to business schools (Experiment 2). Independent judges, who were unaware of the applicants' experimental condition or even the existence of the power manipulation, significantly preferred the written and face-to-face interview performance of powerful applicants to that of powerless (Experiments 1 and 2) or power-neutral applicants (Experiment 2). In addition, the judges' preference for power-primed applicants was mediated by perceptions of the applicant's persuasiveness. Overall, merely asking participants to remember a personal experience with power dramatically affected the impressions that interviewers had of them. Our findings illustrate power's far-reaching effects and have potentially important implications for understanding the psychology of job interviews.
► Priming participants with feelings of power improves professional interview outcomes.
► In two studies, participants wrote application letters and attended 15-minute job interviews.
► In both studies, unaware judges significantly preferred the power-primed applicants.
Keywords: Power, Application, Job-interview
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)776-779
JournalJournal of Experimental Social Psychology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2013


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