Should you wear Google Glass to your next board meeting or sport a smart watch to your next interview? Researchers suggest that if you want to be perceived as a leader or even improve your chances of getting hired, just owning a high-tech product might give you an advantage.
Research news published on April 17, 2014 from Vanderbilt University, Sporting latest tech toy can make you seem more like a leader, references the work of Steve Hoeffler associate professor of marketing at Owen Graduate School of Management at Vanderbilt University and Stacy Wood, Langdon Distinguished Professor of Marketing at Poole College of Management at North Carolina State College. Together they authored the paper “Looking Innovative: Exploring the Role of Impression Management in High-Tech Product Adoption and Use,” published by The Journal of Product Innovation Management.
In the study, they examine the social benefits of owning high-tech products rather than just their functional benefits. Their research explored how a social psychology phenomenon called Impression Management (the human tendency to monitor, consciously or unconsciously, the efficacy of his or her communication of self to others motivations) or “looking innovative,” plays into a consumers' use of new high-tech products, especially in the workplace.
Hoeffler and Wood state, “Familiarity with and usage of new high-tech products appears to be a common manifestation of innovative behavior. Those who are tech-savvy are also perceived as authoritative on other subjects and as leaders.”
For one part of the study, interviews were taped using actors who were categorized by their appearance and other factors.
“We taped them once where they took down a note using an old-fashioned calendar, then did another one where they whipped out an electronic calendar and did it that way,” Hoeffler said.
When test subjects viewed the interviews, they overwhelmingly viewed the actors using the electronic calendars as being more authoritative.
Another part of the study had participants review resumes that were similar except for a few that mentioned the candidates had high-tech hobbies. Those candidates stood out in the results.
Surprisingly, women benefit more than men. The researchers state this finding runs counter to the backlash effect typically found in Impression Management research in business settings.
Hoeffler and Wood write. “Female job evaluations typically suffer after engaging in the same self-promoting impression management strategies that benefit their male counterparts.”
Further, the data show that, even for professional recruiters, a momentary observation of a job candidate using a new high-tech product versus a low-tech equivalent significantly increases the candidate's evaluation and likelihood of being hired.
Actually being able to operate the devices really isn’t all that important, provided you know enough to look reasonably competent, Hoeffler said.
“Just possession is 90 percent of the game,” he said. “And there are maybe 10 percent of situations where you have to display ability to use it.”
Sporting Google Glass to your next interview is a bit controversial considering a prospective companies privacy issues. Maybe preparing a small presentation on an iPad or wearing a smart watch might be enough. What high-tech hobbies do you think might be helpful to mention on a resume?