Not getting hired? Study says maybe you’re just too darned attractive
If you’re a man and you can’t seem to get a job, have you considered the possibility that you’re just too darned good looking? This could be the problem says a new report. It’s also the case for some women, according to a separate, earlier study.
Research from University London College School of Management, University of Maryland, London Business School, and INSEAD found that handsome men are preferred for roles that require cooperation, but not so much for competitive jobs.
Lead researcher Sun Young Lee, and co authors, found the following:
- “Handsome men are seen as more competent, so managers in collaborative workplaces such as R&D departments hire good-looking male candidates over less good-looking ones.
“Similarly, in workplaces with rewards for team performance, a decision maker prefers handsome male employees, as they help further their own success.
However, in competitive workplaces such as sales departments, good looks signalling competence can make handsome men seem threatening to future colleagues. If decision makers expect to compete, they would rather discriminate against them.”
The same effect was not found for pretty women in this study, apparently because female attractiveness wasn’t associated with competence. A study from a few years ago, however, found that attractive women were less likely to get an interview than “plain” women, while handsome men, on the other hand, were actually more likely to be called for an interview than less handsome men. It was also noted that 93% of the respondents were women, and the authors concluded that the reason might be jealousy.
That report, by Bradley Ruffle of Ben Gurion University and Ze’ev Shtudiner at Ariel University Centre says, “Females in charge of hiring at the companies themselves may well be jealous of prospective female employees who are attractive and thus may compete with them for mates or at least the attention of male coworkers.”
Back to the current report, Dr. Lee points out that this bad attitude towards hot males is counterproductive.
“Managers are affected by stereotypes and make hiring decisions to serve their own self-interests so organizations may not get the most competent candidates,” Lee is quoted as saying.
“With more companies involving employees in recruitment processes, this important point needs attention. Awareness that hiring is affected by potential work relationships and stereotyping tendencies can help organizations improve their selection processes. For example, engaging external representatives may improve selection outcomes as outsiders are likely to provide fairer inputs. Also, if organizations make managers more accountable for their decisions, they’ll be less motivated to pursue self-interests at the expense of the company.”