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Business school research: the pros and cons of sweaty palms

The Globe & Mail looks into the innovative research of Julie McCarthy, a professor at the University of Toronto's Rotman School of Management. McCarthy has spent years studying the negative effects of putting employees and potential employees under intense pressure, suggesting that companies looking for the best candidates should seek to minimize anxiety levels at the workplace.

"Some people might argue that we want to hire someone who can handle anxiety and if you can't handle it in a job interview, how can you handle it on the job," she says. And in some cases, that may be true. But, for the most part, the intense pressure that candidates face in job interviews isn't characteristic of the day-to-day performance that's required of them, argues Dr. McCarthy. "Just because someone is anxious in a job interview doesn't mean they aren't going to be a phenomenal employee," she says. "They might actually be superb."

"The research has important implications for companies that want to ensure they use fair and objective hiring and advancement practices and select the best qualified people. "You want to get as accurate a picture as possible of the individual," she says."

"Dr. McCarthy has been studying workplace anxiety since she was a PhD student, when she developed work selection tests for various companies. Friends and colleagues used to turn to her for advice on how to curb their nervousness during job interviews. Her research work now focuses on analyzing the impact of employee anxiety on test and interview performance. She collaborates with numerous employers to gauge the impact of anxiety on an employee's performance in job interviews, annual reviews and promotional exams, and to identify strategies to reduce the negative effects of anxiety. She has worked with police services, retailers, the armed forces, government agencies, and other organizations in Canada and the U.S."

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original source Globe & Mail
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