business‎ > ‎

Psychologists say looks matter in job market

posted 5 Dec 2011, 06:36 by Mpelembe Admin   [ updated 5 Dec 2011, 06:36 ]

According to a study by researchers in Texas, people who have facial scars and blemishes are less likely to get hired for a new job than those who are blemish free. In wide-ranging experiments with volunteers, the researchers discovered that if a potential hire had any kind of facial marking, their interviewer focused more on the blemish than on their skill set. Ben Gruber reports.

REUTERS / RICE UNIVERSITY - Between a poor economy and high unemployment, it's a tough time to be looking for a job. For people with facial scars and blemishes - it's even harder.


Rice University's Mikki Hebl and Juan Madera from the University of Houston conducted two studies looking at how people with facial markings fare in job interviews. Using volunteers and eye-tracking technology, they found that a facial blemish would significantly distract an interviewer, reducing the candidate's chances of getting the job..


JUAN MADERA, ASSISTANT PROFESSOR, UNIVERSITY OF HOUSTON, SAYING:

"So what we found is that people looked at it and the more they look at it the less they remember from the interview content. And the less they remember from the interview content the lower the evaluation of the applicant."

The team used the technology to record how much time an interviewer spent looking at a candidate's blemish. Hebl says that even when the interviewer knew they should be paying more attention to what was being said, the blemish took centre stage.


MIKKI HEBL, PROFESSOR, RICE UNIVERSITY, SAYING:

"We still want to look. So we are constantly saying 'oh I want to look, no no no, I shouldn't look ' and all of that is depleting our resources."

The study found that on average, interviewers recalled 27 percent less of what was said by candidates with facial blemishes than by candidates without one. Because of this - people with blemishes scored 10 percent lower in evaluation.


MIKKI HEBL, PROFESSOR, RICE UNIVERSITY, SAYING:

"This isn't just the burden of the facially stigmatised individual. So it is not just what can that individual do but what sort of policies we can have to make sure that we are not limiting ourselves by always hiring the most attractive, unblemished individuals for the job."

Hebl found that employers discriminated against candidates with facial stigmas on an subconscious level, confirming an age old truth - looks matter.

Ben Gruber, Reuters.

Comments