Jobs Update: Good News for Secretaries and Narcissists

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A new report says employment is returning to pre-recession levels. And other studies say the term "secretary" is making a comeback and narcissists are winning.

A new jobs report is out, and it paints a rosy picture: “One-third of employers added full-time, permanent employees in the first quarter of this year, on par with 2007 and the highest increase reported since the recession began.”

That’s according to a national survey by CareerBuilder.com. Released yesterday, the survey of more than 2,000 hiring managers and human resource pros predicts hiring for the second quarter will continue to climb – around 28 percent from the same time last year.

And who’s likely to get those jobs? Narcissists.

Hire me, love me

“The secret to excelling in a job interview may not hinge on how much your interviewers like you, but in how much you like yourself,” say researchers at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. On Tuesday, they released preliminary results from a fascinating study that concluded, “Narcissists scored much higher in simulated job interviews than non-narcissists.”

Why? Because the self-absorbed have an “innate tendency to promote themselves, in part by engaging and speaking at length, which implied confidence and expertise even when they were held to account by expert interviewers.”

Researchers videotaped 72 subjects in mock job interviews, and they found the narcissists excelled – until they were offered the job.

“They can be very disruptive and destructive when dealing with other people on a regular basis,” says Peter Harms, the study’s co-author. “If everything else is equal, it probably is best to avoid hiring them.”

Now there needs to be a study on how to do that.

Mad Men and the women who work for them

Meanwhile, here’s yet another fascinating job-related study that was touted this week by a group called the International Association of Administrative Professionals. The IAAP represents employees who were once called secretaries. And now that term is making a comeback

In its most recent survey of admins, IAAP noted a significant increase in the number of administrative professionals who have “secretary” in their job title. This shift marks a reversal of popularity for a job title that has been in decline for at least 20 years… It’s unclear why there are more secretaries, though it may be due to a “Mad Men Effect.” The popular AMC series may stoke nostalgia for the classic image of the American corporate secretary.

The IAAP interviewed more than 3,300 “administrative professionals” and found that those with “secretary” in their titles nearly doubled from 2009 to 2011, going from 8 percent to nearly 15 percent.

Of course, April 25 is Administrative Professionals Day – formerly known as Secretaries Day.

Stacy Johnson

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