But fidgeting is found to work in your favour if you're male
Fidgeting during job interviews can affect a woman’s performance, but can actually work in a man’s favour, scientists at London’s Roehampton University have found.
The study, published in journal PLOS ONE, found men who were put under pressure performed better when they exhibited the classic signs of fidgeting, including lip biting and scratching as it seemed to relax them.
However, women doing the same thing became more stressed.
People taking part in the research had to give a five minute presentation then do a five minute maths test as part of a mock job interview.
Their heart rates were monitored during the maths test then they were asked about how stressed they felt taking it.
Men fidgeted twice as much as women during the presentation but made fewer mistakes during the test. Men who fidgeted the most were found to get the hightest marks.
Lead author of the study said these findings could change the way people are taught to approach job interviews.
He said: ‘Our study provides unique insights into the way that men and women differ in coping with the pressure of a job interview. It seems that men have an effective behavioural strategy – fidgeting – to combat their nervousness, but for women, the same behaviour actually makes things much worse.’
However expert Heather McGregor, CEO of executive search firm Taylor Bennett and the author of Mrs Moneypenny’s Career Advice for Ambitious Women, said she didn’t believe interview stress was related to gender.
Speaking to Channel 4 news, McGregor said: ‘We interview over 1,000 people for jobs each year, half of each gender, and have not noticed any discernible difference between the sexes.
‘But it is true to say that proper preparation for interviews will reduce stress for both men and women, and as for fidgeting, remember that 85 per cent of communication is non verbal, so be careful what you are saying to people through your actions’ she added.