Not too long ago, Ladders proposed considering treating a job interview like a date; the idea being laws of attraction overlap more often than they don’t irrespective of the context.
Ahead of conjectural economic downturn, we return to this approach with the help of a new study published in the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships.
The authors support the desire-inducing effect of being hard to get during online and face-to-face encounters.
Across three studies, the study pools were paired with researchers posing as participants (confederates).
After each interaction, respondents were instructed to rate the extent to which they felt their partners were “hard to get,” their perceptions of their partner’s mate value (“I perceive the other participant as a valued mate”), and their desire to engage in various romantic activities with said partner.
“Overall, our research demonstrates how and why being hard to get may set the ground for a successful mate pursuit, affecting interpersonal perceptions in a way that can facilitate relationship initiation,” the authors explained. “Specifically, being hard to get signals that potential partners are worth pursuing because they have other mating alternatives and therefore can afford to limit their availability.”
This is particularly valuable in a competitive job market. In truth, hireability ultimately refers to the tight rope between appearing qualified and advertising security.
According to a recent report, 24% of hiring managers believe that overqualified applicants are often unwilling to do tasks they deem beneath them. A similar majority expressed concerns about being able to afford them in the first place.
On the other hand, the best way to signal worth is by muting eagerness. You want to convey to an employer that they said the right things to peak your interest and earn your aptitude.
“Playing hard to get is a common strategy,” the authors of the new report continued. “Results indicated that the perception of whether a confederate was hard to get was associated with their mate value, which, in turn, predicted greater desire and efforts to see the confederate again, suggesting that being hard to get is an effective strategy that heightens perceptions of partners’ mate value.”
The first study demonstrated the paper’s thesis via online interactions between prospective partners.
Each created an online profile that included their picture, address, hobbies, and their selectiveness in choosing mates.
Participants were subsequently asked to choose one of two options that best represented this selectivity: Selective or Less selective.
In the second study, participants were told that they would be engaging in a face-to-face conversation with another participant (who was in actuality a confederate).
The experimenter then instructed participants and confederates to discuss their preferences in various life domains and presented a list of 10 questions (e.g., “To what extent do you prefer intimate recreation over mass entertainment?”; “To what extent do you like to cuddle with your partner while sleeping?”).
In Study 3, the authors determined whether the predicted effect of being hard to get would generalize to online interactions that unfolded relatively spontaneously alongside the efforts devoted to seeing them in the future.
In every scenario, a degree of aloofness produced the most positive outcomes.
“Reciprocation of attraction — people’s tendency to like those who like them — may encourage the initiation of relationships with targets of interest. Immediately reciprocating another person’s expression of liking, however, may not be the most effective strategy for attracting mates. Indeed, people who are too easy to attract may be perceived as more desperate and thus as less valuable and appealing than those who do not make their romantic interest apparent right away,” the authors concluded.
Be sure to read the full report, authored by Gurit E. Birnbaum, Kobi Zholtack, and Harry T. Reis, titled “No pain, no gain: Perceived partner mate value mediates the desire-inducing effect of being hard to get during online and face-to-face encounters.