Mind games that will make senior investment bankers want to hire you

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If you decide to read one very long and impeccably researched article about the psychology of successful and wealthy people this month, we suggest you choose The Money Empathy Gap in New York Magazine.

Not only is it very interesting on the psychological distinctions between persons with money and persons without, it also offers some valuable insights into the sorts of people senior investment bankers might want to hire. Most notably, it cites experiments showing that:

“Lower-class people want to be the same as their peers, whereas ­better-off subjects show 'a preference for uniqueness and individuation.'”

The article refers to an experiment in which candidates of different levels of socioeconomic status were asked to select one of five pens. Three pens were green, two were other colors. Lower class people consistently picked the green pens to be the same as their peers. Better-off people consistently picked the unusual colors.

The implication therefore appears to be that if you want a highly paid, high status banker to warm to you in an interview situation, it will help if you are able to draw his/her attention to something about you that's idiosyncratic, but not weird. Be warned, however: this must be distinct from the marker of uniqueness selected by your interviewer or you’ll spoil their own individuation and turn them off you.

For example, you should probably not wear Ferragamo loafers to a Goldman Sachs interview.

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