October 17, 2014

Beauty in the eye of the beholder? Not precisely

Acknowledging your good looks could help you in that next job interview.

At least, that’s the finding of a new study led by University of Colorado business school professor Stefanie Johnson.

The study found that while past research has shown physical beauty can be detrimental to women applying for typically masculine jobs, women can halt that discrimination by making mention of their looks during an interview.

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The paper was published in Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes.

Attractive women in the study who applied for a construction job and said things like “I know I don’t look like your typical applicant,” or “I know there aren’t a lot of women in this industry,” followed by a rundown of successes on their resumes, fared better in reviewer ratings than attractive women who didn’t mention their looks.

“Turns out there’s merit in the old Pantene ad, ‘Don’t hate me because I’m beautiful,’” Johnson said in a CU release. “If a sufferer of female-beauty stereotyping addresses the issue, the perpetrator leaves behind preconceived ideas and is able to more clearly see her professional qualities.”

The study identified two types of sexism that cause people to “mentally disqualify women” from masculine jobs. Hostile sexism causes people to see women as violators of gender roles, while benevolent sexism causes people to see women as incapable and in need of protection from job difficulties.

“Recognizing the fact that her appearance was atypical reduced the violation of her gender role and conveyed that she was capable of performing the job duties,” Johnson said.

Johnson noted that the “acknowledgement method” could work for job applicants with other potential stigmas like being a wheelchair user. It’s not, however, for the unattractive.

“In fact, it made the situation worse for unattractive women when they acknowledged their looks,” Johnson said.

Acknowledging your good looks could help you in that next job interview.

At least, that’s the finding of a new study led by University of Colorado business school professor Stefanie Johnson.

The study found that while past research has shown physical beauty can be detrimental to women applying for typically masculine jobs, women can halt that discrimination by making mention of their looks during an interview.

The paper was published in Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes.

Attractive women in the study who applied for a construction job and said things like “I know…

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