Hey handsome, looking for a job?

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DSCF1550rIf you are just hope your potential boss isn’t insecure.

New research from America suggests that insecure bosses are less likely to employ good-looking men because they fear looking bad by comparison.

Attractive men are generally considered more competent (unlike women of which more later) which is why they do better in life generally.

However if they are being recruited into jobs where they may end up competing with their bosses then their good looks might work against them.

Marko Pitesa, professor of management at the University of Maryland, led the research – which investigated how people would behave in team activities as opposed to competitive scenarios using CVs with fake photos.

In the competitive situations being perceived as good-looking could work against you, Pitesa said “It’s not always an advantage to be pretty . It can backfire if you are perceived as a threat”

He added “The dominant theoretical perspective in the social sciences for several decades has been that biases and discrimination are caused by irrational prejudice. The way we explain it here pretty men just seem more competent so it is actually subjectively rational to discriminate against them” His research was published in the journal Organisation Behaviour and Human Decision Processes.

As I mentioned earlier women don’t get it all their own way either. In experiments involving recruitment using CVs with photographs, attractive women were discriminated against. This was put down to jealousy among the largely female recruiters.

Once you get the job however good looks seem to effect both men and women equally in respect of earnings with unattractive people earning up to 15% less than their more attractive counterparts.

And the latest investigation into restaurants shows that they give the best tables to the best-looking people (to attract other customers). So if you get tucked away in a corner you know you haven’t got the looks!


Are attractive women discriminated against?

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_DSC0291I’m re-posting this as it came up in the popular press recently (it can take journalists a few years to catch up on academic research).

Some researchers in Canada (a very PC country in my opinion) have replicated the research done in Israel a few years ago.

Men might think that women have the advantage when job-seeking if they are attractive but research from Israel, published by the Royal Economic Society, showed just the opposite in fact. 

Researchers sent out over 5,300 CVs for over 2,500 jobs. Two applications were sent for each vacancy – one with a photograph of either an attractive or plain person and an identical one without a photo.

Attractive women who sent in a photograph with their CVs were less likely to get an interview than plainer women who sent a photo and women who sent no photo at all.

For men it was the other way round. Attractive men who sent photos did better than the attractive women but plain men and those who didn’t send photos fared worse than their female counterparts.

Statistically it means that an attractive male only needs to send out 5 CVs to get an interview compared with the 11 a plain-looking male needs to send. Attractive women would be better off not sending a photo as it reduces their chances of getting an interview by 20 – 30%.

The researchers at Ben-Gurion university said it was a case of “beauty discrimination” which reflected the double standards in company HR departments. They checked and found that 96% of the people who screened the CVs were female, typically 23 and 24 years old , and 70% of them were single.

They theorised that these recruiters were jealous of any potential rivals in their workplace and rejected them instantly. There was less discrimination if the recruitment was being handled by an employment agency. Attractive women were no worse off than plain candidates and only slightly worse off than candidate who didn’t send a picture.

Professor Cary Cooper from Lancaster University Management School was more generous about the recruiters suggesting that unconsciously they might think that the less attractive women is the underdog and want to give her a chance. Nice thought Cary but what about the no-photo applications?

Sending photos with CVs is not common in the UK (unless applying for a job relating specifically to your appearance) but is in other parts of Europe. In Israel where the experiment was carried out it’s up to the individual.

In Lithuania our colleagues who are recruiters tell us that young people often send inappropriate pictures with their CVs eg shots on a beach or other holiday locations.

Of course once you’ve got the job good looks seem to effect both men and women equally with unattractive people earning up to 15% less than their more attractive counterparts.

First posted on SGANDA

Danger – Jealousy at work!

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grass_is_always_greener_1600_wht_8358Jealousy and envy are closely related but jealousy is usually when you wish you had something someone else has got eg a pay rise,or a plum project, and envy is when you haven’t got it and when you wish they hadn’t either.

Envy is about feeling inferior, being resentful, and wishing ill-will to others. It also tends to be more about being competitive.

Jealousy can also be aspirational or inspirational in encouraging you to better yourself so that you can also achieve what the other person has.

Research in USA by Professor Robert Vecchio suggests that 3 out of 4 people have witnessed jealousy at work and up to 50% of people have become involved in it in some way.

People who are more envious of others at work are more likely to be the ones who use “social loafing” (not pulling their weight) to even up the score. They are also more likely to be looking for other jobs.

People with a strong work ethic who are sensitive to work issues are more likely to get emotional about them as much as people with low self-esteem who think work is all about being competitive.

Generally woman are more likely to be jealous about social relationships; men to envy others in a competitive way.

Lack of consideration by supervisors can lead to jealousy and it is more likely to happen in a small office. People who work in large offices tend to assume that unequal treatment is because of bureaucratic inefficiency.

If you are the object of jealousy or envy:

Focus on the good things in your job (count your blessings) to bolster your self-esteem
Be humble – don’t flaunt your success
Don’t get involved in the drama
Help others to achieve and be as successful as you

There are also things organisations can do:

Create more of a team culture
Encourage cooperation rather than competition through incentives
Encourage a more participative style of leadership – encouraging input
Recruit emotionally mature people
Use high achievers as role models, mentors or coaches

And the office romance? Jealousy about sex or romance is a 3-way relationship; the focus of your attention plus the rival, which can produce feelings of loss, distrust or betrayal. But that’s a different posting.

First posted on SGANDA in 2010