JOB SEARCH / JUL. 22, 2013
version 2, draft 2

Does Being Pretty Get you the Job?

The timeless question about the correlation between good looks and job opportunities is yet to be determined. There are arguments on both sides of the spectrum; on one hand being pretty will get you the job, while on the other hand, it can work against you. Yes, there is a simple relation between good looks and being successful; however does the same rule apply to women?

The position of women in the workplace has always been volatile - an almost taboo topic that shouldn’t be discussed openly. There weren’t any hard and fast rules about women at work, in fact, there were no rules regarding maternity leave, sexual harassment or salaries. World War I changed this as women entered the workforce and stood shoulder to shoulder with men. Now there are women in every job imaginable, from CEOs and Directors to Executives and Partners - women have crossed leaps and bounds to have equal rights to the opposite sex and it is an achievement in itself.

But was that enough?

Research shows that women are now taking advantage of being the fairer sex by using their looks to get ahead. Again, there are two sides to this coin - your good looks can either work for or against you, depending on who is in charge. The requirement to submit your photograph along with your CV is becoming increasingly common as recruiters want to physically see the candidate before they determine whether or not to pursue them.

It has been reported that men who send their photograph along with their CV have a higher chance of receiving a callback in comparison to women. The reasons for this can be exhaustive; however here are some possible explanations:

·         Female HR managers feel threatened by pretty candidates
·         HR managers are judging the book by its cover i.e. not reviewing the work of the candidate but their appearance
·         Recruiters feel that men are more competent than women

The Nitty Gritty of the Situation

While being pretty can work against you as hiring managers may be subconsciously rejecting your job application, it can also help boost your chances of getting the job. A study conducted by Dr. Daniel Hamermesh, author of the best seller Beauty Pays, suggests that an attractive appearance can garner up to 3%-4% higher salary than an ‘average looking’ person.

The book also concludes that lesser attractive women are likely to opt out of the workforce and stay at home - with the reason being that their salary wasn’t a major motivating factor to keep working. Psychological reports show that people tend to amplify qualities of good looking people to increase their attractiveness, e.g. a woman who is organized and attractive, will appear more organized than she actually is just because of her appearance. The skills are magnified because of the appearance of the person.

The Impact of Looks on your Career

Essentially your appearance is an important factor in the success of your career. It is a natural instinct that plays in the mind of individuals, and there isn’t much that can be done to make better hires. Good looks are, however, not the only thing that determines whether or not you get the job. Intelligence, personality and abilities play a huge role as well; since those are the qualities that will eventually help you build a career. 

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