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How to Use Music to Improve Job Interviews

Music helps you exercise, celebrate, and endure traffic. What else can it do? The results of a 2014 study (conducted by Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University) suggest that playing bass-heavy music draws out confidence in the listener. This is especially useful when gearing up for a job interview.

The study

The recently resurfaced 2014 study was designed to test and measure the psychological impact of music on feelings of power and confidence. Researchers first played music for participants. Each participant was asked to rate the level of empowerment felt after listening to each song. Participants ranked the song on a scale from zero to seven. After this part of the study, the average score was calculated for each song. Songs were then separated into two categories: One that scored high for empowerment, and one that ranked low for empowerment. Researched noticed that songs with lots of bass were consistently ranked most empowering. (They noticed this even when other variables were removed or changed.) From there, researchers divided the participants evenly. Half listened to the music deemed empowering, while the other half enjoyed tunes that were decidedly "low power." Finally, researchers performed a series of tests on participants. These participants were asked to complete words and plan debates with others.

The findings confirm that bass-heavy beats caused listeners to report higher feelings of energy and control. (Remember, participants all agreed that bass-heavy jams made them feel more empowered.) Participants reported higher confidence after listening to bass-heavy music. They also showed more assurance when tested.  Listeners in the bass-heavy group, for example, were more likely to request the first position when planning a debate. They were also more likely to fill in incomplete words, such as P__ER, with confident language, such as "power." instead of neutral terms, such as "paper." This leads researchers to believe that the change is subconscious, but mighty.

Create a job interview bass-heavy music playlist

Interviews can be nerve wracking, but the level of confidence you bring can impact the results. Interviewers don't just observe what you say; they also note how you say it. If you show that you're ready to control the conversation — and your career path — interviewers are more likely to show interest in you. So during your preparation process, take a cue from the study! Listen to bass-heavy music that amps you up, and let your curated musical selections go to work on your state of mind.

How to make the list

Add energy, power, and flow to your job search by choosing a list of songs that make you feel large and in charge. How can you identify a bass-heavy song to play? If the thudding beats don't give it away, we listed songs for you below to provide some reference. The first three songs listed were used in the actual study.

"Get Ready for This" by 2 Unlimited

"We Will Rock You" by Queen

"In Da Club" by 50 Cent

"Seven Nation Army" by The White Stripes

"My Girl" by The Temptations

"Somethin' Bad" by Miranda Lambert and Carrie Underwood

"Imperial March (Darth Vader's Theme)" composed by John Williams

Make your own list! Observe the bass in one or more of these songs. Next, think about songs that have similar bass sounds. Write down all songs that come to mind. (Make sure you like all of them.) Add the songs to your phone. Listen to your list before you head out to your interview. Get ready to enter your interview with confidence! As it turns out, music holds a powerful key that we can use to free our inner warrior.

Start building your interview and job search playlist today, and while you're listening, visit MyPerfectResume and get the resume creation and job search tools that help you make your next big move.  

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