Who knew? Good looking people get better jobs

A new study published in Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences finds that the attractiveness of interviewees can significantly bias outcome in hiring practices, showing a clear distinction between the attractive and average looking interviewees in terms of high and low status job packages offered.

“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.” The study explored the influence of the halo effect in a mock job negotiation scenario where male and female interviewers were shown pictures of attractive or average looking male and female job applicants.

Female interviewers were found to allocate attractive looking male interviewees more high status job packages than the average looking men. Female interviewers also gave more high status job packages to attractive men than to attractive women. Average looking men also received more low status job packages than average looking women. Male interviewers did not differ in the number of high or low status job packages that were given to attractive looking interviewees of either sex, though the male interviewers gave out more low status job packages overall, irrespective of the sex of the interviewee.

However, the male interviewers were not entirely without bias. The electrodermal response (EDR), a psycho-physiological response measured when emotions are used to make a preferential decision, of the interviewers was measured. When emotions are used to make a preferential decision, it is thought that the anticipatory EDR level increases. There was a highly significant increase in the anticipatory EDR when the male interviewers assigned the low status job packages to the attractive female candidates. The fact that this difference only occurred when assigning low status job packages ensures that the effect could not have been driven by interpersonal attraction, but rather by emotion. Female interviewers did not exhibit any significant EDR differences, suggesting their bias occurs on a cognitive level.

This study is the first application of EDR to examine the influential role of beauty, status and sex during job negotiations. “From a business point-of-view, there is a need for leaders/managers to be aware of their assumptions in decision-making processes, be they strategic or operational, and that they may be prone to emotion and bias,” say the authors.

From http://www.blackwellpublishing.com

56 thoughts on “Who knew? Good looking people get better jobs”

  1. Yes things get better. It definitely helps to have the opposite sex interview you if you are good looking and handsome when interviewed!!

  2. I do notice a trend in my industry; the people on top are very “pretty”, but no more qualified then many of the people I work with. In fact, I’d say some might be less, but still, they are met with less resistance, or so it seems to me, then their colleagues, who are obviously more physically challenged. It’s a spartan world out there I suppose; and the “normals” are tossed over the cliff.

  3. It’s amazing how many of these ‘studies’ always eerily parallel Nazi ideology and white supremacist beliefs. A great deal of these so called researchers secretly hold biased views. Especially in the area of gender and race. As for gender I mean anti-male. Most ‘research’ these days focuses on degrading men on all levels.

  4. yea ofcourse looks play some part in job interviews. The way you present yourself will be what the employer first judges you on. As humans we are to some extent shallow, its not the only thing we look for but humans are very visual. Although if i was hiring I wouldn’t be focussed on good looks but more the way the person dressed for the interview, it shows how much you value the position and if you are professional or not.

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  6. Well I’m just glad I’m good looking. With good looks comes confidence and with confidence comes charisma. No matter how difficult the job it can be learned by almost anyone (repition/practice makes perfect), it is the above qualities that are valued.

  7. I wonder if this same technique can be used to determine how race plays a role in hiring…you know it will. Let’s just be honest, some people just get things because they happen to be something that they have had very little control over, yet get to reap the rewards of such. Then they want to act as if they’ve busted their ass their whole life…some probably have worked hard, the rest have been able to coast it.

  8. i can agree with this article a little bit..i know one guy who was hired because the girl hiring thought he was hot..!! lol….he is i have to admit…but i don’t think he knows he got it because of his looks…

  9. If this study was done with people of similar outgoing confident personalities along with the same qualifications but the only difference between them was their level of attractiveness i would like to see the outcome.

  10. Again….the good looking person does not always get the job they want…
    been there, applied for the job..didnt get it….
    CAUSE I AM A GIRLLLLLLLLLLLLL!!

    I look pretty, do my hair nails , wear make up…and at my house I run a salon., have a child, run our farm with numerous animals and I love it…
    My locksmithing diploma got me NOTHING…neither did the Landscaping and Gardening…. just because I like to look pretty..I wear jeans and t’s and can put on work boots and work as hard as a man….and like to shoot a gun..NAILS and all! LOL
    Amazing how the world to this day is so subjective to how they THINK people are…or what they should be doing…
    It really P*!@#@S me off……

    • Its probally that you spend time doing your hair and nails instead of getting ready for an interview. Just be yourself dress consertive and stop smiling and flirting with a future boss.

    • The reason your not getting a job is probably because you have a “diploma” in locksmithing, have poor grammar and understanding of the English language, have baggage (kid), likely spend way to much time on ridiculous, probably trashy nails and makeup, and lastly failed to understand the article whatsoever.

      • Erm, I guess there is a great need for the sarcasm font, I can’t believe how many people didn’t get that was sarcasm…

  11. Whilst I don’t like the sound of this, I have to admit it’s true. I was once hired for a job and was thrilled, only to discover that the person who hired me was an avid Elvis fan and was struck by my resemblance to him. Maybe hirers should be male from now on.

  12. In my opinion, how you feel is how you look. If I see a well dressed confident person with a zest for life. I think to myself they got the look. I have seen some really proportionately eye pleasing people whom I feel no attraction to because of how they view life and how they hold themselves. we are all able to be the good looking person. Its just a matter of choice. look at that sexy Rodney Dangerfield!!

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    And the working hour is just 4 hours per day and your responsibility in my house is just to take care of my daughters, cooking, taking them on shopping, taking them to where the school bus will pick them up from which is just 2 km ahead from home. And also you have a private room bathroom toilet and also if you wish to be having free period from 5 pm to 6 pm are acceptable.. So i will like you to get back to me if you are interested in being my nanny for my Kids.
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  14. This is why this world is so twisted..because everyone is so quick to judge people without even knowing them..why do people do this?????

    • I do agree there is judgement made so quick on a persons appearance…. I am attracctive…(so I have been told..)
      any job I apply for outside of my hairdressing field…even though I have a diploma in Locksmithing and Landscaping and Gardening…I CAN NOT find a job!
      I woodwork, love tools, fixing vehicles etc..but because i am in the “pretty” category I never get hired…even though I have knowledge..and I am not trying to me a show off or smug.

      It IRRITATES me….if your pretty your seen as dumb or should stay in a proffession you LOOK like you should be in…..
      yup..that is Nova Scotia for ya.

  15. I think it depends on the place you are looking for a job and what type of job. There is bias in this world with everything unfortunately, and people do stereotype. Opposite of what’s been said, I think attractive people are stereotyped into being “looks but no brains” or prima donnas. Many attractive people I have known have been treated differently with bosses hanging over them with distrust for their accomplishments. It’s like…gee you can’t be smart too. I think attractive men are not as stereotyped since women love to be around them and men do not have the catty thing going on.

    • I am so agree with you!!!! I’ve always been judged by my look…. “Oh, she is gorgeous, perhaps there is no brain function going on whatsoever”…. I am so sick of it!!! And this is with the fact that I work in finance and studying to get the designation… If there is no brain, how would I pass the brutal exams????? But I do pass with flying colors….

  16. You’re always told that appearance is the most important thing in a job interview, so I figured looks play an important part.

    The manager from my first real job took this to the extreme though. He’d always hire the best looking (high-school!) girls, then “show them the ropes.” Also, he actually told me he wouldn’t hire anyone that wasn’t white.

    This could explain why I have so hard of a time getting work :) I’m not sure how attractive I am, but since people rarely complement me on my looks, I’m guessing I’m not model material :)

    I do think this is wrong, and that people that hire should make a conscious effort not to fall for it.

  17. being fat do not make you ugly…..

    and some people don’t get jobs cause others are jealous of them! or think you might take their job, this article is based on ignorance! my dad owns a shop, we’ve had the the most prettiest girls the the world looking for jobs but the where turned down straight away! and some people use A LOTTTTTTTTTT of make up to hide what they really actually look like, but this doesn’t make them ugly!.

    i apply online for job I’ve never been accepted, and stores but seriously i have bad maths gcse grades!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! and you need maths! .. lol as for the Skinny part???!!!!! lolllllllllll i’m skinny, and slightly tall and i still can’t get a job! being tall and skinny don’t make you beautiful! only get looked at a lot when i were skirts! which i hate

    oh yeah I am Ugly n I feel Ugly

  18. Well…these days what is good-looking is becoming more subjective, as globalization is under way. Who are the so called ‘finest races’? With all the race mixing taking place, a simple stereotype won’t do.

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