The Zoomer Report: Looks and Employment

Do attractive people have an advantage when it comes to finding a job? The answer may surprise you.


It’s something we’ve always suspected — that attractive people have an advantage when it comes to finding a job. A new study suggests that while handsome men do better while looking for work, good looks can end up hurting a woman’s chances of scoring a job interview. Israeli researchers came to that conclusion by sending more than 5,000 resumes in pairs for half as many job openings. In each pair, one CV was without a picture while the second, otherwise almost identical CV, contained a headshot.

The resumes of “attractive” males received a 20 per cent response rate, nearly 50 per cent higher than the response rate for “plain” males and more than double the 9.2 per cent response rate for men who didn’t send pictures.

However, the study showed that, contrary to popular belief, “attractive” women were called back for a position LESS often than “plain women”, as well as those who had no picture on their resume.

Women without pictures had the highest response rate, 22 per cent higher than plain women and 30 per cent higher than good-looking ones.

When a man included a photo with his résumé, employers found that it showed confidence and that the candidate was presentable. But when a woman did the same, it was viewed as a negative, suggesting she was “attempting to market herself via her appearance.”

Bottom line the researchers say one way or another, beauty distorts the hiring process.

Photo © Yunus Arakon

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Libby ZnaimerAbout The Zoomer Report
Libby Znaimer, a prominent Canadian journalist specializing in business, politics, and lifestyle issues, is producer and host of The Zoomer Report, a special feature on topics of interest to baby boomers and the 50+. It covers everything from health and wealth to leisure and volunteerism, from the special vantage point of the generation that has changed society in its wake.

Ms. Znaimer is also Vice-President of News and Information for Classical 96.3FM and AM740. Her first book, “In Cancerland – Living Well Is The Best Revenge” – was published in October 2007 by Key Porter.

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