business people

Your Physical Appearance Affects Your Employability

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business people

There’s a chance that the reason you weren’t hired during your last job interview was that you frowned a lot and you forgot to check your makeup. The world is easier for beautiful people, they say. That’s true even in employment. A study found out that hiring managers are more likely to hire beautiful Caucasian brunettes. We are psychologically and biologically programmed to like attractive people. That’s the way we were wired.

So yes, it does make sense to have a contemporary haircut. You may get more job offers if you look clean and attractive. Keeping your hair neat and in place could be more important than your leadership skills. Can you believe that? You may be wearing a cashmere pullover hoodie during the interview, but the hiring manager may still hire you partly because of your hairstyle.

Hiring managers should be aware of beauty bias. They will be fairer when choosing candidates. The bias refers to the inherent attitude of being nicer and more agreeable to beautiful people. When hiring managers are aware that such biases occur, they will try to look at a candidate from a different perspective. They will question their decision and go deeper into the candidate’s skills and experiences.

Worse for Women

Beauty bias is even worse for women. Although men experience some type of bias when it comes to employment, women have it far worse. During a job interview, a prospective female employee will be judged based on her hair, makeup, weight, age, clothes, and shoes. If she frowns, the hiring manager might decide against hiring her. Hiring managers want cheerful and pleasant-looking women.



During one study, a group of hiring managers was asked to describe potential female employees based only on photos. Only 15% of hiring managers said that they were willing to hire an overweight candidate. More than 40% of the surveyed hiring managers said that an overweight woman was lazy and unprofessional.

Is it because she’s fat? Most likely, yes. They believe that when someone is fat, it is because she has no control over her appetite and she doesn’t engage in physical activity. For them, that’s a sign of laziness and irresponsibility. How about if a medical condition caused her to gain weight? Somehow, that wasn’t part of the equation.


This is another factor in the unemployability of a female candidate. Hiring managers want younger-looking candidates even though they have yet to prove themselves. Out of those surveyed, many believe that older women are more responsible, skilled, and reliable. Still, they won’t be hiring them anytime soon. Even with the anti-discrimination bill in place, older men and women can hardly compete against younger candidates.


The law prohibits hiring managers from discriminating against anyone regardless of their race, age, weight, and health. But a survey found out that people are most likely to be hired when they are interviewed by someone of their own race. The probability of getting hired goes up to 67% for African Americans and Asians when they are interviewed by hiring managers of the same race.

The next time you attend a job interview, give a special focus on how you look. Blow-dry your hair, and put on makeup. Wear a high-powered suit and shoes. It pays to invest in your appearance when it comes to job searching.

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