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The Right Data Source for Personality Insights: LinkedIn vs. Interviews

Personality is often seen as a fixed and stable set of behaviors, but it’s much more dynamic in reality. While people generally exhibit consistent patterns, their personalities can evolve, especially after major life changes like graduating from school or getting married. Additionally, one's personality can vary significantly depending on the situation. For example, someone who is typically outgoing, cheerful, and charismatic might tone down these traits in a solemn setting like a funeral, but they may shine at a party.


Because we frequently adjust how we present ourselves in various social contexts, the way we interact on a professional platform like LinkedIn often differs from how we engage in more private or informal work conversations. This adaptability means that, when analyzing someone's language to understand their personality and demeanor, it's crucial to consider the context. In this blog post, we compare the different insights into personality and psychology that can be gleaned from analyzing language used in two contexts: LinkedIn and interviews. 

LinkedIn's professional context results in a more controlled personality presentation.


LinkedIn is a platform designed for professionals to network and build career connections. Because of its public and professional context, LinkedIn users often present an idealized version of themselves, showcasing their skills and knowledge to attract employers, employees, colleagues, and clients. To present this idealized version of themselves, the language they use in their profiles and interactions may be heavily curated to retain their professional appearance and portray a positive public image. 

Individuals and organizations can even use the services of a LinkedIn Ghostwriter to help run their accounts, build their following, and engage their audience through carefully crafted bios and posts. Therefore, when LinkedIn language is used as the basis for psycholinguistic analysis, the results typically reflect a more scripted, formal, and less objective view of their psychology and personality.

More personal interactions, like interviews, allow for less scripted and more natural language. 


In contrast to the curated language people use on LinkedIn, interviews provide a more natural format for human interaction. Interviews offer a personal setting, often involving one-on-one interactions. This intimate environment can encourage more genuine self-disclosure, where people may feel more comfortable being authentic. As a result, the language used in interviews provides a more representative reflection of an individual compared to the more scripted language they use on LinkedIn.


While interviewers and interviewees may practice and rehearse for anticipated questions and discussion topics, there is no backspace button or delete key, which restricts their ability to perfectly tailor the image that others see. The unscripted, natural language used in this context provides a more objective view of a person, illustrating a far more unfiltered and revealing image of their psychology and personality.

Contrasting LinkedIn and interview personalities – the approach:


To illustrate how people might come across differently during their interviews versus their LinkedIn presence, we captured language from three well-known podcasters, each of whom maintains an active LinkedIn profile: Esther Perel, Jay Shetty, and Adam Grant. To assess their LinkedIn language, we aggregated the podcasters’ most recent 100 LinkedIn posts and the “About” section of their LinkedIn profile page. To assess their interview language, we aggregated the language each podcaster used in ten of their latest podcast episodes. We then used Receptiviti’s UI to analyze and visualize the discrepancies between the psychology and personality derived from each podcaster's interview and LinkedIn language.


Interview language is more empathetic and genuine than LinkedIn language.


To demonstrate how each podcaster’s personality presents differently on LinkedIn versus their podcast, we began by analyzing their levels of empathy and genuineness using Receptiviti’s Big Five Personality framework. Empathy and genuineness can help us understand an individual’s emotional intelligence and sincerity, providing insight into their ability to authentically communicate and connect with others.  

Results showed that all three podcasters came across as more empathetic and genuine in their podcast interviews than in their LinkedIn activity. This is likely a reflection of the more intimate context of an interview relative to the more public context of LinkedIn. While podcast interviews often reach millions of listeners, the direct, one-on-one nature of an interview may lead to more sincere disclosure and emotional resonance than when publicly posting and broadcasting to one’s LinkedIn audience.

Empathetic and genuine language reflect podcaster personality

LinkedIn language is more analytical than interview language.


We also measured the degree to which each podcaster is analytical and formal in their communications and interactions using the analytical thinking measure from Receptiviti’s Cognition framework. Higher scores on analytical thinking indicate a more formal, impersonal style, whereas lower scores indicate a more informal and personal presence. 


Our results showed that all three podcasters were more analytical on their LinkedIn page and less analytical on their podcasts. This finding isn’t surprising given that LinkedIn encourages a more professional, formal tone and curated presentation of oneself. In comparison, podcast interviews are a more natural environment for authentic and personal communication.

Analytical language reflects podcaster psychology

People are more psychologically vulnerable on Podcasts than on LinkedIn.

The contrast between the more scripted language on LinkedIn and unscripted, natural language in interviews can reveal how communication in different situations relates to psychological vulnerabilities. For example, knowing what to expect in a scripted situation can be less stressful than dealing with the uncertainty of an unscripted one. To assess psychological vulnerability, we used the stress-prone, self-conscious, and impulsive measures from Receptiviti’s Big Five Personality framework. 

Results showed that all three podcasters appeared more stress-prone, self-conscious, and impulsive in their interviews than in their LinkedIn activity. During their interviews, the three podcasters are likely more self-conscious, stress-prone, and impulsive because they need to think on their feet to respond to their guests' comments and questions. On LinkedIn, language is often carefully crafted to present the user as they wish to be perceived, and presenting oneself as impulsive, stress-prone, or self-conscious is not the desired image most want to portray.

Stress, self-consciousness, and impulsivity reflected in podcaster language

Podcasters are more communal on LinkedIn and more agentic on their podcasts.


To assess the degree to which Perel, Shetty, and Grant used a linguistic style that presents themselves as communal, people-focused thought leaders versus agentic, goal-focused achievers, we used Receptiviti’s LIWC Extension framework. Results showed that all three podcasters used more communal language on LinkedIn than on their podcast. LinkedIn is, first and foremost, a social platform that is intended to help users develop and maintain their professional networks and personal brands. The podcasters’ communal linguistic style on LinkedIn likely reflects the way they use the platform to build and engage their audience. 

Additionally, Perel, Grant, and—to a lesser extent—Shetty used more agentic language on their podcast than on LinkedIn. Greater use of agentic language in their interviews may be an indication of their authority as podcast hosts and the frequency with which they share their personal experiences, insights, and expertise in what they discuss. The very nature of a podcast—where the podcaster asks questions and leads the discussion—may also heighten the extent to which their linguistic style comes across as more assertive and agentic in this context.

Agentic and communal language reflect podcaster personality

Applying interview analysis to help inform business decisions:

The use of language in public and private contexts, such as LinkedIn and interviews, offers different insights into individuals' psychology and personality. Whereas the language used on LinkedIn is more scripted and tailored for the purposes of professional branding, interview language tends to be more natural and revealing of a person's true self. Our analysis of podcasters Esther Perel, Jay Shetty, and Adam Grant highlights this distinction between contexts. For example, each podcaster appeared more empathetic and genuine in interviews, reflecting the intimacy of the setting. In contrast, the podcasters came across as more analytical on LinkedIn, consistent with the platform's professional tone. These findings highlight the limitations of solely relying on LinkedIn language and the importance of using more natural and less curated language from interviews to accurately assess an individual’s psychology and personality.

Please note: We kindly request attribution if you reference the research described in this blog post, as acknowledgment fosters collaboration and integrity in the scientific community.


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