Research findings has shown that for attractive women including a photo with their job application are less likely to have an interview than those deemed to be a plain Jane – or someone who sends no picture at all.
In contrast, if a handsome man includes a photo they their chances of getting to the next stages of the selection are boosted. The researchers believe that it is likely that women who work in the company are jealous of beautiful ‘rivals’ moving to the company.
The Canadian and Israeli researchers submitted pairs of CVs to over 2,500 advertised jobs in an 18 month period.
Details included fictional personal data and were designed to make the potential candidates appealing through good qualifications and work experience. One CV from the pair sent contained a photo of a person who research judged to be either attractive or plain – with the ‘attractive candidates unmistakably better looking’
Previous research has shown a ‘beauty premium’ with attractive people judged to be brainier, more trustworthy and tend to hold more prestigious jobs and be paid more.
In this study however, for female candidates with CVs that didn’t include photos were more likely to lead to an interview, with applications of photos of ‘plain’ women the next most successful. The applications with beautiful women fared worst.
Researcher Bradley Ruffle, of Wilfrid Laurier University in Ontario, Canada, says that the research may show that good-looking women are being penalised for their beauty. With the research showing that most of those doing the recruiting were young, single females, he added that he thinks jealousy is to blame, as the findings could not be explained by the jobs, qualifications or amount of public-facing work involved.
He said: ‘Females in charge of hiring may well be jealous of prospective female employees who are attractive and compete with them for mates, or at least for the attention of male co-workers.’
Dr Ruffle added it the findings could be a result of attractive women being seen as ‘social magnets’ who lower productivity. Or, he suggested, men may be hesitant in hiring them over fear of a backlash from their female partners.
Attractive men fared better from the research, with CVs that included pictures of handsome males being the most successful, while CVs without a photo did next best and plain males fared worst.
Dr Ruffle said: ‘A plain male needs to send over twice as many CVs as an attractive male for an equal chance at a call back.’
The researchers added that recruitment agencies, in particular, may be relying on photos to choose between identically qualified candidates, as they are keen to make a good impression with their clients and they may avoid putting forward unattractive male applicants.