Skip to main content

New study from careers experts, StandOut CV, reveals the tracks and artists people are listening to before job interviews on Spotify, with hip-hop dominating. 

  • Beyoncé’s ‘Run the World’ is the most popular track to listen to before an interview, featured in 85 playlists
  • Kanye West is the most popular artist choice in pre-interview playlists, featured in 155 playlists, with ‘Stronger’ the most picked track
  • The average pre-interview song is a high-tempo 133 BPM, ‘Run the World’ is 127, Eminem’s ‘Lose Yourself’ (6th) is 171
  • Queen’s ‘Don’t Stop Me Now’ is the oldest track (Jan, 1979), but the 4th most popular song overall
  • Songs with lyrics about female empowerment are the most popular, with both men (51%) and women (49%) adding to their interview playlists

To calm pre-interview nerves and gain confidence, job interviewees are listening to lots of hip-hop and pop before going into the meeting. That’s according to a new study from StandOut CV which analyses the most popular tracks and artists people listen to before an interview, based on data from Spotify.

Top 10 Most Popular Songs People Listen to Before an Interview

Job hunters are using Beyonce’s ‘Run the World’ more than any other song to get prepared for a nerve-wracking interview. 

It was found to be the most popular song to listen to before an interview,  featured in 85 unique pre-interview playlists, with Demi Lovato’s ‘Confident’ in a close second in 82 playlists.

Queen’s ‘Don’t Stop Me Now’ is the oldest track in the top 50, released January 1979, a full 50 years earlier than more recent top tracks like Lizzo’s ‘Juice’.

Top 10 Artists People Listen to Before an Interview 

When it came to the top 10 most-listened-to artists, a few names remained the same, however Kanye West takes the top spot, appearing in 155 pre-interview playlists, just beating Beyoncé, whose tracks are added to 150 playlists. 

Despite Yeezy not having any tracks in the top 10, he did have three songs in the top 50. The hip-hop artist’s highest-ranking tracks were ‘Stronger’ at 18th, ‘POWER’ in 25th, and ‘All of the Lights’ in position 31. 

Rank Artists No. of Playlists Featured In:
1 Kanye West 155
2 Beyonce 150
3 Drake 142
4 Ariana Grande 140
5 Kendrick Lamar 125
6 Taylor Swift 118
7 Nicki Minaj 115
8 Rihanna 114
9 Lizzo 109
10 Eminem 109

The research also looked at the beats per minute (BPM) of the top 50 most popular tracks to see if there was a trend. Overall, the average BPM of the most popular pre-interview songs was found to be 133 BPM.

Other tracks that matched the 133 BPM average exactly, that didn’t feature in the analysis were found to be: 

  • Bitch Don’t Kill My Vibe – Kendrick Lamar
  • Studio – ScHoolboy Q
  • Sweet But Psycho – Ava Max 
  • Shut Up and Drive – Rihanna
  • Cherry Bomb – Tyler the Creator

Men and women are listening to female empowerment songs

With six out of the top 10 tracks being from female artists, and six of the top 10 artists being women, the study also looked at whether female Spotify listeners were using these tracks before interviews more than men. 

To further the study, researchers used the Genderize API on the dataset, to find out whether the Spotify playlist creators were men or women. 

The split was almost even with 49% of the pre-interview playlist creators being women, and 51% men, despite the obvious themes of female empowerment in the top tracks, as seen in ‘Boss Bitch’ by Doja Cat, ‘Run the World (Girls)’ from Beyoncé, and ‘Girl on Fire’ by Alicia Keys.

Speaking to Dr Simon Proctor, Director of Education and Research, at Nordoff Robbins Music Therapy, Dr Proctor comments on the study:

“There are several reasons why people listen to music before a nervous situation, such as an interview.”

“The first is that we use music to deliberately configure ourselves emotionally, particularly when we need to ready ourselves for challenging social interactions. For instance, getting in the mood for a night out, focusing on work, or for something stressful like a job interview.

“The next reason is that we use music to connect with our unique sense of self and identity. In this instance, we use music to reflect who we are and who we think we are, providing us with a boost of confidence and assurance towards our sense of who we are.”

“We also know that there is undoubtedly a physiological connection between the energy, articulation and tempo of the music we listen to and our bodily responses to it. This is a core reason professional sportspeople often listen to faster paced and tempo music before a game/match.”

“It also goes some way to explaining why the average Beat Per Minute (BPM) of the songs in people’s interview playlists is 133 BPM, an optimal rate to ‘gee’ us up. The average BPM of 133 sits higher than the average adult’s resting heart rate but also below that of high-intensity exercise, putting it in the optimal place to get us ready.”

“Lastly, music, especially on the way to an interview when using your phone, provides a sense of predictability and control. It’s unlikely many people before a stressful situation will listen to new songs, preferring to stick to known music. This provides a sense of control as to what’s playing and predictability in the song’s composition.”

To view the full study and Spotify playlist with the top 50 songs in, please see here: