Job interviews. They are terrible for most people without much extra effort, but if you are less attractive, than they are worse for you. Why? Because attractive people get more job interviews, more call-backs, and more jobs in general.
An Italian study from last year produced some interesting results: “they sent more than 10,000 resumes out, using the same one and changing only first-name, last-name, address, and the photo included to test ethnic and regional biases as well as the impact of beauty.” Far and away, attractive women and men got the most call-backs, with unattractive women only yielding a 7% call-back rate. Other studies have found similar results – despite the qualifications of the CVs, how you look has a big impact on whether you get to come back for the job.
This raised an interesting point with me (well, many interesting points) – aside from the fact that I should have a cover-ready photo for all of my job applications. Charles Kadushin discusses this tendency in a broader sense in his book Understanding Social Networks. He points out that people are more likely to choose people who are more attractive than they – but it’s not limited to looks. “People choose others who are more attractive than they are, subject to the safety condition that too much unrequited love is painful. Attractiveness is of course not necessarily physically motivated, but the possession of any attribute valued by the group” (Kadushin, 89).
What struck me about the Italian, and other, research was that it disregarded the other potential attractive features for only the physical. The people hiring for the jobs were not considering whether the person was attractive based on education, experience, or community involvement. They were choosing based on physicality only – flying in the face of Kadushin’s point with network theory. Obviously, not all of the call-backs were only based on the looks, and perhaps the attractive people still had attractive CVs.
It also brings up the importance of social networks in the new world of jobs and interviews. You now have an online CV through your LinkedIn – with a nice photo of you looking attractive and professional. You can apply directly to jobs posted on LinkedIn through the platform, meaning that your CV is coming with a picture, regardless of whether you attached it or not. The research on the hire-ability of attractive people is more and more important to understand for our workforce — to recognize and demonstrably change to reflect less about the physicality and more about the skill set and job fit.
…Or, it means you had better get your hair done before your next big interview — it might be the difference between you and the next person.