Are you discriminating against attractive applicants?

  24th July 2015      
 Company News, Human Resources, Recruitment

An interesting study has been conducted about the attractiveness of candidates and whether employers in competitive work environments are less likely to hire good looking people.

Research has been conducted at Maryland University, USA, & Wilfrid Laurier University, Canada, where four separate experiments were conducted with between 90 and 273 adults deciding between two different candidates for a position. The applications were submitted with photos and the interviewees were asked to perceive the candidates as potential team mates.

The results showed that handsome men were likely to be hired when seen as teammates, but not when considered as rivals.

Women fared no better; every person surveyed was sent two CVs, one with no photo and one with either a picture of an attractive or a plain looking person. Applications without pictures were 20% more likely to get a call back, than those with pictures of plain looking women. Applications without pictures were 35% more likely to get a call back, than those with pictures of attractive women.

Hannah Montagu-Clark is a Resourcer in our Permanent Office & Commercial Team and her job involves sourcing and selecting the best candidates for our consultants to talk with at greater length. She comments on this report “Interestingly, the study also picked up that outside recruiters had less of a bias than in-house recruiters, presumed to be based on the rivalry aspect. Our best advice to candidates has always been to never to include a photo of themselves unless looks are directly relevant to the role (for example in modelling). Most employers that we work with would be surprised at these findings, I’m sure none of them intentionally make choices based on looks but it is interesting to read these findings which show that some of those choices may be unintentional or subliminal.”

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