Do You Have "Dazzling Smiler" On Your Resume?

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As if job hunting wasn't difficult enough these days, let's add another factor to that resumé: physical attractiveness. While there is no law prohibiting discrimination regarding physical attractiveness, some studies have shown that these superficial biases exist when choosing new employees.
The effect of physical attractiveness depends on the type of job for which the person is being interviewed, and the person's gender. In one study, college students played the role of hiring managers for a fictitious company and were given resumes and photographs of applicants. The position was for a high-level manager, which (like it or not) is traditionally a job done by men. When the researchers reviewed the students' choices, it was found that attractive male applicants were consistently chosen to fill the position. However, attractive women were overtaken by "plain" women in this fake review of potential employees.
The halo effect seemed to work in favor of attractive male employees, but not in the case of their female counterparts. The subjects' reasons for not choosing the attractive women for the position varied, the general consensus was that her feminine qualities would impede her ability to be high-level manger.
Of course, the results of these studies aren't going to be the same for all professions. The halo effect can only take you so far. Someone needs to tell this British women, who laments, "Women hate me because I'm beautiful."

13 Comments

I think this is very interesting and simultaneously unfortunate. We are consistently told in our up-bringings that we can do what we set our minds to and that we shouldn't be so superficial as to judge people as their looks. It's also extremely convenient that it is nearly impossible to prove that employers hire based on physical attractiveness, as our perceptions of such a characteristic vary from person to person.

1. I'm not so convinced yet. Appearance is a medium of communication and definitely shouldn't be ignored but rather considered as cosmetic ornament to the structure of your self. I wonder if there is any research that points to some truth behind these invisible scripts that seem to exist in our perceptions..

2. this woman is delusional, and if she's getting flowers from men in the street what is she complaining about?!

I'm not sure how relevant the video is, but she's certainly right, women are noxious!

As to the blog writing, I can see this being the case many times. However, I must question the strength of the evidence and wonder how strong the correlation is. Also, in what job positions this effect seems to have the greatest impact. Do you have references to these studies?

This post really reminded me of an article I read in the Economist recently (http://www.economist.com/node/21551535). The article detailed a study that looked at the impact of including a photo in a job application. The study found that "an attractive woman would need to send out 11 CVs on average before getting an interview; an equally qualified plain one just seven." They concluded that this was because human resources departments tend to be staffed mostly by women (93% in Israel, where this study was conducted)and that old-fashioned jealousy led the women to discriminate against pretty candidates.

It also talked about how the halo effect can help pretty women, but echoed what you said about how sometimes it doesn't work. Sometimes, it does makes sense for someone to say "don't hate me because I'm beautiful."

It reminds me of a posting on Facebook. It says, "pretty woman + ugly woman = friends," whereas "pretty woman + pretty woman = enemies." As you said, physical attractiveness influences many things, not only job interviews but many routine stuff so trivial that many people don't even notice. I sometimes feel hatred toward those pretty people who don't appreciate what they take for granted is actually influenced by their appearance. Nonetheless, physical attractiveness shouldn't affect people's assessment which should be objective, neither for nor against.

Loved your catchy and clever title! This is a really interesting idea to bring forth. As a female, I have definitely been jealous of other girls for their appearance (what girl doesn't feel inadequate to others at times?) It's very interesting to see how your appearance can effect job prospects-- however, I do not agree with applying with a photograph of yourself! Future employers should be more concerned about how hard you will work and how you will get along with clients and coworkers, not how you look.

I agree with what you're saying. Unfortunately, I think many people are chosen for a job based highly on whether they are attractive or not. It has nothing to do with the level of skills an individual has. This is something that is impossible to prove because you cannot tell what motives lead an employer to hire someone.

I believe that though hiring based on looks is a problem, unfortunately with American pop culture centering itself around looks it is to be expected. Its a cold hard truth in life, and unfortunately until we change how society values intelligence versus looks it is going to be an uphill battle.

I believe that many people hold physical attractiveness to be an important trait because of how popular culture has shown us that to be successful and rich you have to be beautiful. I think this kind of mentality applies to jobs as well. For example, companies such as Hollister and Abercrombie often approach their attractive shoppers and offer jobs to them. And when you sit back and think of it, most of the "models" that work there are generally attractive. And as you mentioned, getting a job is already hard enough, and having to worry about if you will be hired based of if the employer finds you attractive or not is yet another barrier that could prevent a person from getting job.

Unfortunately, some entry-position jobs (specifically for college students) involve physical attractiveness. One particular example I can think of is Hooters. Well endowed women (typically 18-24yrs old) are chosen because their physically attractive and draw in male customers.

I think deciding who gets the job based upon looks is wrong. I am very surprised that is no law prohibiting discriminating regarding physical attractiveness. That seems odd to me that you cannot discriminate against gender, age, and race but you can against physical attractiveness. Overall interesting post and comments.

I heard about biases when employers interview employees. It is really unfair that employees discriminate interviewees based on how they look like. Nowadays, people are preparing a lot for an interview such as volunteering work, internship experiences or language scores such as HSK for Chinese or TOEFL for English. However, since now on, we, interviewees, have to care our faces as average,and plain faces. No one looks like the same and average. Each person has their own face style and attractions. I think those biases make people to have some plastic surgery alot.

Yes you're right. Appearance is really important factor that recruiters look for employees as well as his or her previous career. No matter the gender of applicants, they have to be looked neatly. Also if they look good this will be a plus. Nowadays many people know that their appearance is very important, so they put a lot of effort taking their picture for resume. I heard that some people even do plastic surgeries to appeal recruiters.

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This page contains a single entry by gavi0100 published on April 8, 2012 11:33 PM.

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