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Study suggests: Recruiters prefer attractive people for well-paying jobs

Study suggests: Recruiters prefer attractive people for well-paying jobs


Our personalities play an important role in cracking an interview. Being confident and smart is the card we play as job seekers. You would be surprised to know that being attractive or unattractive also is one factor considered in the process of hiring.

Yes, you read it right! For high paid jobs, being attractive is as important as being confident and smart. According to a research conducted in the London Business School, UK, attractive people are believed to receive favorable treatment in the hiring process. They may have a disadvantage when applying for less desirable jobs, such as those with low pay or uninteresting work. Researchers conducted series of four experiments involving more than 750 participants. It included university students and managers who make hiring decisions in the real world.

For the first and second studies the participants were shown computer generated head-shots of two potential candidates, one of which had previously been deemed “attractive” and one who hadn’t, through prior research studies. The third and fourth studies introduced other factors to the study like photos of real people and HR managers.


In both the experiments where they were asked, participants were significantly less likely to hire the attractive candidate for the less desirable job and more likely to hire the attractive candidate for the more desirable job. “The most interesting part of our findings is that decision makers take into consideration others’ assumed aspirations in their decisions,” said Madan Pillutla, from London Business School.


In three of the four studies the researchers actually asked the participants whether or not they would hire one of the two candidates they were presented with for less or more desirable jobs. With less desirable jobs classified as those that required participants complete potentially boring tasks, manual labor, or work in a warehouse among other factors. The results showed that the participants responded that they were less likely to hire the more attractive candidate for the less desirable position and conversely more likely to hire the unattractive candidate for the less desirable job.


“Because participants thought that attractive individuals would want better outcomes, and therefore participants predicted that attractive individuals would be less satisfied, they reversed their discrimination pattern and favored unattractive candidates when selecting for a less desirable job,” said Pillutla.

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