No matter how our society denies that looks aren’t necessary, that doesn’t seem to be the case in the Philippine job market. Jobs in sales, in particular, can have strict standards when it comes to looks. For example, a minimum height and a specific body type.
It’s not very surprising, considering the Philippines’ obsession with beauty pageants. The country’s fixation with beauty could’ve influenced the qualifications for specific occupations. In that case, job hopefuls have no choice but to make themselves marketable and charismatic enough. Furthermore, instead of viewing the bias on looks negatively, they can turn it into an opportunity to improve their self-care routines.
The truth is that employers don’t just look at face value of attractiveness. They associate it with professionalism. Besides, Filipino employers aren’t the only ones who regard good looks highly. A 2013 study at the University of Messina, Italy also revealed that appearance plays a crucial part in the hiring process. Likewise, the University of Florida found that attractive employees tend to earn more than less attractive ones.
Why Do Looks Matter So Much?
In a social experiment by Vaseline Men, they had an actor play the role of two job applicants: one well-groomed and polished and another the opposite. He applied for the same job, with the recruitment managers having no clue that four hidden cameras were monitoring them and the process.
After deliberating, the recruitment managers agreed to choose the attractive candidate. As a result, Vaseline Men proved that good looks and confidence can make a significant impact on job interviews.
Archie Geneta of John Robert Powers Manila found this outcome unsurprising. He said that good looks emit confidence, which leaves a memorable impression on employers. This encourages a call-back. If they’re lucky, they’d be hired, too.
Geneta added that while leveraging credentials is a given, a candidate’s attractiveness has social benefits that employers would like to take advantage of.
But of course, good looks are useless without a charismatic personality. As such, personality development schools in the Philippines are thriving, helping candidates become attractive inside and out. In line with this, Geneta said that we can’t disregard that beautiful people draw closer attention. Hence, Filipinos are starting to boost their looks and personalities, apart from their resumes.
Physical appearance can increase your credibility, too, mainly if you work in sales. For example, if you’re pitching an effective non-drying whitening soap, then your skin should also be fair and hydrated. Your pitch will be more convincing that way. On the contrary, if your skin is dull and dry, people would doubt the effectiveness of your product.
The Impact of Looks on Salary
In other countries, good looks don’t just increase your chances of getting a job. It also raises your potential earnings. The study by the University of Florida found that for every extra inch of height, a tall male worker can expect to earn an additional $789 per year. The case is the same for blonde women. A 2010 study by Queensland University found that blondes make 7% more than female employees with other hair colors.
These standards aren’t considered healthy, though. Hiring someone based on looks alone can cause employers to miss out on highly skilled candidates. This applies to politics as well. For example, former U.S. President Warren Harding, who is considered one of the worst U.S. presidents, was voted by the Republicans simply because he looked “presidential.”
Furthermore, a bias on looks can risk the staff morale. Once a company’s staff discovers that their managers favor the attractive employees, trust and respect in the workplace will erode.
Thankfully, in the Philippines, the bias on looks doesn’t run as deep. It may earn you plus points from an employer, but ultimately, you’d still need a good educational background and skills to impress them.
For example, if you want to be a flight attendant, your looks will be secondary to your personality, education, and abilities. Flight attendants are expected to possess excellent interpersonal skills, a passion for traveling, courteousness, and a college or high school diploma. Without those, your good looks can only get you so far into the hiring process.
Employers’ bias on good looks isn’t a good thing, but it’s not inherently bad either. Often, they come from a good place when they choose an attractive candidate. After all, when you look poised in your interview, it sends the message that you want the job more. Your confidence also creates the impression that your colleagues and clients can find you pleasant to work with. So let’s not antagonize employers for valuing good looks. Let’s use it as a chance to work on the first impressions we leave.