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Pink & Black | April 18, 2014

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How Your Appearance Helps (and Hurts) Your Chances of Landing a Job

How Your Appearance Helps (and Hurts) Your Chances of Landing a Job
Ashley Hight

We’ve all heard it before: skinnier, taller, and more attractive brunettes earn a higher salary and advance more quickly. These stats studied only specific qualities of individuals and when they ventured into the sphere of gender, the public never really got wind of the findings. Yes, women earn only 77 cents for a man’s dollar, but what happens when physical attractiveness is entered into the equation? When a hot man and a hot woman are pitted against each other, does the man fair better than the woman when they are dubbed equally attractive?

Two Israelis’ research points to an astounding—yet unsurprising—yes. They sent two resumes each to over 2,000, job postings, one with a photo and one without. “Hunks were more likely to be called for an interview if they included a photo. Ugly men were better off not including one. However, for women this was reversed. Attractive females were less likely to be offered an interview if they included a mugshot,” as stated in The Economist. The study further demonstrated that women who were Plain Janes or who did not include a picture had a higher callback rate.

We know it is a stereotype that does not ring true, but the old mantra that men are masculine and aggressive, while women are pretty and demure still remains, pigeonholing women to more feminine jobs and hindering their hiring ability because being pretty means you are an unlikely candidate for hire. And what about men working more feminine jobs, such as nurses, secretaries, and interior designers? An article in The Journal of Social Psychology states that “attractive women were at an advantage for feminine sex-typed jobs and at a disadvantage for masculine sex-typed jobs. However, attractive men were at an advantage over unattractive men regardless of the sex typing of the job.”

It’s a bit of a double standard: even though studies show that skinner and more attractive women have a higher salary and receive better treatment in the workplace compared to her fatter counterparts, women must also have to focus on not being attractive in order to get hired in the first place. And the Israelis hypothesized why attractive women are at a disadvantage. As succinctly put by Jezebel writer, Anna North: “…Jealousy on part of the female HR workers may have contributed to discrimination against good-looking female applicants. Whatever the cause, it’s interesting to note that beauty isn’t necessarily always a privilege for women—in at least some situations, it can also be a disadvantage.”

Photo: We Heart It