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It PAYS to be good-looking -- and CONFIDENT

I was reading the "Do people treat you differently now that you've lost weight" thread yesterday, and soon after that found myself reading an article in Harvard magazine about a study of personal appearance and salary. This is not only about weight, but more general toothsomeness:

The researchers did an experiment in which they took a pool of 330 people and tested them so that they had some measure of ability/productivity. They then had a group of students rate the study subjects' appearances on a scale of 1 to 5. Then "employers" got to make hiring and salary decisions, based on either a "CV" of the performance rating, CV+photo, CV+phone interview, CV+photo+face to face interview.

Beautiful/Handsome people got "job offers" with salaries 12-17% higher than others regardless of how they had tested out on performance -- the 17% end was for the face-to-face interviews. 17%!!! That's a lot of money!

But the really interesting thing to me was that with the CV+phone interview the people ranked as beautiful still did better. When asked about their productivity, they rated themselves higher than other people rated themselves.

As a supervisor I am _really_ going to watch myself for this sort of bias in hiring in the future. Although I will say that I already knew the best employee I ever had was very plain in appearance.

But as someone working on my health and appearance -- heck, if your health wasn't a big enough motivator, would you lose weight for a 17% raise? I sure would.


Thu. Nov 2, 6:41am

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There's one major flaw with this study. Students don't have hiring experience which is why we usually don't put people right put of school in positions where they would hire. As a hiring manager, I can tell you after being burned many times by less than desirable, although they may be attractive, employees, looks no longer factor into my decisions if they ever did.

After a certain maturity level, people in positions of hiring no longer care whether a person is attractive or not but rather can you do the job because frankly our jobs are on the line if we make bad hires. Because if you can't do the work my butt is on the line because I hired you AND I have to do your work too! I don't care how cute Mr. Joe Adorable looks--if he doesn't deliver than I don't want his butt in my office.

The study would have been more legit if it was conducted with people who are hiring managers. Anonymously of course--no one would like to be associated with such bias I'd think.

Thursday, November 02, 2006, 9:39 AM

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I was the one on that thread who mentioned the studies about this so I'm not surprised. Yes, it's a huge motivator and it's legit. To the poster above, I worked in HR and sorry to tell you, but there is absolute discrimination about hiring fat people, it's subtle, never spoken about but happens every day.

Thursday, November 02, 2006, 10:19 AM

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I think the students did the appearance evaluation and a different group of people did the "hiring." At least that was the way I read the article.

Thursday, November 02, 2006, 11:31 AM

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it's absolutely true that people are discriminated against for how they look. i worked at a staffing agency and the owner showed me a list of key words/phrases they used to (about 10 years back) put in someone's personel database that were legal ways of "flagging" the file so they would know if the candidate was overweight, had a personal hygene problem, dressed sloppily, etc. Granted she doesn't use thses terms now, she was just showing me to show how times have changed. the difference now is that she would just inactivate a candidates file if she didn't like how they looked/smelled or their education level.

i don't think that beautiful people necessarily get more work, better pay than anyone else, but i definitley think that if you are unnattractive you will have more trouble!!

Thursday, November 02, 2006, 12:29 PM

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I definitely think the study is true. A cute, young blonde girl (which nice boobs) at my law school got EVERY callback during interview season (this was a big deal bcz there were more qualified candidates). Meanwhile, the fat chick w/ all the right qualifications but odd sense of humor got nothing. (And I'm still bitter about that!)

Thursday, November 02, 2006, 2:11 PM

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For glamour jobs yes

My IT contracting rate increased the fatter I got. I think that hiring managers believe that ugly people work harder because that is their primary selling point. Or if you really need the money, so wear a cheap suit to your next interview.

Amanda911

Thursday, November 02, 2006, 4:54 PM

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