Adopting a 'fake' personality at interview and in the workplace can lead to stress.
17 Feb 2009
According to our latest research, the UK is top of the European charts for 'workplace chameleons'. We found that 64% of UK workers (18.6 million) change their natural behaviour and put on a false personality when they walk into work. This compares with a European average of just 50%, with countries such as the Netherlands coming in at only 36%.
The research also reveals that nearly half of UK employees (46%) admit that the interview process failed to reveal their true selves: when interviewing for their current job, they adapted the way in which they presented their personality to try and 'fit in' with the company. And of those who put on a false face to try and impress, a third (34%) confessed that they projected a very different personality from their true one.
Our survey questioned 1,000 employees in the UK and a further 3,000 in six other European countries. It reveals that UK workers are more likely to change the way they project their personality at work than their European counterparts. The extent to which they disguise their personalities is also startling, with a third admitting to putting on a radically different face at work. In fact, 45% go as far as to attempt to take on an entirely new persona with each new job they take.
And it's not just employees who aren't showing their real selves: half of bosses (48%) admit to changing the way they present their personality when interviewing candidates and 15% continue to adopt a different persona in front of anyone they manage.
Unsurprisingly, this relentless morphing is causing considerable strain on the workforce: well over a third (39%) find their jobs more stressful because they feel obliged to act in a certain way.
And it's not just in the office that these chameleons change their true colours - more than one in five of us admit to changing our apparent personality when in a social setting with colleagues, and an alarming 11% of us are even doing it when we're with our friends.