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

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

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  3. I read tens of articles about this topic. Good looking people are not only getting better jobs, but they are better threaten by society in general. Good looking kids are better threaten by teachers and mates in schools (from kinder garden, through elementary school to universities), people trust them more, etc.

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  4. Having been in business awhile I can say attractiveness can help get someone an entry level or sales spot. However if thats the best asset a person has they are in for trouble. The high paying jobs almost always go to the most talented person. Few want to risk wasting money especially these days. Personally I prefer working with less attractive people because life has taught them to persist. I find service is better with less drama from the less attractive. I once worked in company surrounded by pretty people, heck I was probaby hired for that reason as I was right out of college. Drama central and the companies revenues were impacted severey by the lack of unity. Not saying all less attractive people are great to work with, but generally they have developed more appealling business traits than the pretty people.

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