When It Comes To Job Interviews Looks Really Do Matter

Thursday, 19. January 2012


The results are in; beautiful people really do get all the good jobs. According to a study published by the Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, the attractiveness of an interviewee can significantly bias the outcome of the hiring decision.

“When someone is viewed as attractive, they are often assumed to have a number of positive social traits and greater intelligence,” say Carl Senior and Michael J.R. Butler, authors of the study. “This is known as the ‘halo effect’ and it has previously been shown to affect the outcome of job interviews.”

Okay, so this really isn’t that new of breakthrough. We’ve known for quite sometime that good looking people get all the good jobs, but is hasn’t been until the release of a recent study, conducted by researchers at Rice University and the University of Houston, that we now have a better understanding of why this happens.

The “Discrimination Against Facially Stigmatized Applicants in Interviews: An Eye-Tracking and Face-to-Face Investigation” was published in the November 2011 edition of the Journal of Applied Psychology. The study found that interviewees were less likely to be hired if they had any kind of facial disfigurement, such as birthmarks, scars and moles.

To some degree, this is much more than just a matter of how “beautiful” a person is. A disfigurement is distracting. If an interviewer is drawn toward a mole or a scar instead of to your smile or your eyes, it does several things:

  • It reduces your ability to win over the interviewer with your smile and your eyes.
  • It makes it irritating to look at you, and that creates a negative impression for the interviewer.
  • It might even make the interviewer wonder if you will lose the company clients by creating a negative impression.

Does this apply only to natural or accidental disfigurement? The study doesn’t cover purposeful disfigurement, but at least to some degree we can assume that if you are wearing a nose ring or sporting a tattoo (or war paint?), you will be drawing attention away from you and toward a possible irritant.

Best to remove facial jewelery and use makeup on blemishes as best you can, before heading into your job interview.

“The bottom line is that how your face looks can significantly influence the success of an interview,” says Mikki Hebl, Professor of Psychology at Rice University. “Our research shows if you recall less information about competent candidates because you are distracted by characteristics on their face, it decreases your overall evaluations of them.”

As a professionally resume writer, I strongly believe that your resume is the number one way to get them loving you before they even see your face. So make that opportunity count. But don’t blow it when you show up for the interview.

2 Responses to “When It Comes To Job Interviews Looks Really Do Matter”



  1. Cindi F Says:

    I believe in a lot of fields of work this is true but I also feel it makes a difference if it is mostly women or men who are interviewing you. In my field, social services, mostly women are the ones holding the interviews and I can tell by looking around the offices that looks are not even a top priority. In fact I would say that women would rather hire less attractive women so it is not competition for them. No one wants someone better looking then themselves working in their office. Now if it is a man interviewing a woman, I would say that attractiveness would be a top factor. This could be a bit sexist but that has been my experience in the work place.



  2. Ted Martin Says:

    I am not a conventionally good-looking guy (note: just being nice to myself, I’m not good-looking at all. :D) but when it comes to job interviews I always make an extra effort to look as clean and well-dressed as possible. You actually feel good when you know you look good in a job interview, hence boosting your confidence in answering your interviewer’s questions. They, in turn, would detect your confidence and assume that you’re superman and conclude that you are perfect for the job.

 

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