Looking Good, Job Candidate!

As the job pool widens and the job search closes in, how about another thing we all need to think about when interviewing? And that “thing” is, looking put together, a.k.a looking good.

I heard a great interview this morning between Jessica Bennett and Ann Curry on the Today Show about The Beauty Advantage, “A special report on…how beauty can affect your job, your career, your life.”

I found this topic to be fascinating.  I have to admit that from previous experience I know not to dress up in front of potential managers who may be women, at least until I get to know them.  As someone who does like to dress up for work and has been looked down on for it by a female manager, I am a little wary about showing off my personal style.

All I ever tried to get across was that I enjoyed coming in to work and I hoped that dressing up a little would show my enthusiasm for my job.  So we go back to the question, “Do looks matter during a job interview?”  Well, the answer is yes.  According to the article:

* Handsome men earn, on average, 5 percent more than their less-attractive counterparts

* Good-looking women earn 4 percent more

* Fifty-seven percent of hiring managers told NEWSWEEK that qualified but unattractive candidates are likely to have a harder time landing a job

* 61 percent of managers (the majority of them men) said it would be an advantage for a woman to wear clothing showing off her figure at work

* But 47 percent also believe it’s possible for a woman to be penalized for being “too good-looking.”

And this last point is the one I am talking about when interviewing.  I think hard about wearing my pumps before interviewing as I don’t want to seem like someone who just enjoys looking good and not doing a good job.

How do you feel about the issue?

What did you do today?

P.S. I’d like to offer up this update from my friend Sailaja who did a guest blog about Informational Interviews:

“People who are taller on average tend to make more money in their careers because they are seen as ‘leaders.’ Also, for minority women who have lighter skin tend to earn more and are viewed as, ‘better candidates,’ than their darker skinned friends!”

Sai recently wrote a blog about “Fair for Facebook,” which goes along with my topic today, and how the Facebook team in India has added a new app that allows Indian men to lighten their skin on the site.


11 thoughts on “Looking Good, Job Candidate!

  1. People who are taller on average tend to make more money in their careers because they are seen as “leaders.” Also, for minority women who have lighter skin tend to earn more and are viewed as, “better candidates,” than their darker skinned friends!

  2. I found your blog from your reply to the Newsweek article, and the blogname hinted that we had more in common. I think there are so many “sub-factors” that go into the looks issue, eg. age, weight, height, self-image, relationship status and family make-up, field of study/career, and income (just off the top of my head). We could do a blog on how each of these sub-factors effect the “looks in the workplace” topic.

    Ultimately I found the article encouraging, being an attractive (but not overly so), nicely shaped, well-educated and not-too-old woman trying to find challenging and meaningful work in a small town. I’ve recently found a few part-time jobs to cobble together, both of which had almost everything to do with experience and intelligence, which I recognize is the exception…it really didn’t matter what I wore to the interview or how I have looked (beyond acceptably professional) since.

    I’d really be interested to discuss the other factors I mentioned with you and your readers, especially having to do with the mindset/circumstance of the candidate, because beyond a certain point, there really aren’t any other factors over which we have much control.

  3. Whatever happened to the thinking that “You can’t (or shouldn’t) judge a book by it’s cover. How about “beauty is only skin deep”.
    I think it is an AWFUL shame that looking good equates to being a better person!! What a small minded world of people we’ve become!!! MENTAL MIDGETS

    • Hi Victor,

      I don’t agree that looking good equates to being a better person. I simply found it interesting, and quite honestly disheartening, that this is one more thing that employers could potentially look for. I agree, I have worked with a number of people who were great looking and had a rock for a brain.

      However, I do agree that there is nothing wrong with looking put together. I feel that, especially, in the marketing or advertising field this is something that needs to be taken into consideration. Often times, these are the people behind the image of your brand and quite honestly who wants someone “unprofessional looking” in that position?

      Thank you very much for the comment, Victor.

  4. Pingback: 2010 in Review « Career Advice 101

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