Can good looks help in getting that job, promotion or a higher pay?Chen Wan Lim
There’s a host of academic and scientific studies which proves and disproves the notion that good looking males and females often getting paid more, advance in their careers faster and even make better first impressions compared with their not-so-good-looking counterparts. While there are no definitive conclusions that the corporate world is only meant for the people who possess Holywood faces (or there ever will be), let’s take a look at some studies indicating how good looks can help in your career and how sometimes, it can’t.
Good looks help
One such study was conducted by Harvard University indicating that good looking men are more likely to be successful when pitching to investors than unattractive men or women, even when delivering the same brief. According to the findings of the research published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, while investors prefer pitches to be done by males rather than females, attractive males are found to be particularly more persuasive. This is often termed as the ‘Halo Effect’ where people are biased to think that the people they’re attracted to is kinder, smarter, and more capable than they really are.
Another study from Rice University noted how your face looks can significantly influence the success of an interview. The research found that interviewees received bad ratings due to some sort of facial disfigurement, proving that it is natural human instinct to have a negative reaction to facial blemishes.
A more recent study designed and executed by researchers at Harvard University, Boston University, and the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute found that women wearing more makeup were judged to be more competent than those wearing less makeup or no makeup. Makeup was found to increase people’s perceptions of a woman’s likeability and trustworthiness as well.
Good looks doesn’t help
On the flipside, a research conducted by Professor Heidi Grant Helverson from Columbia University indicated that having good looks can be counterproductive to your career as interviewers might be threatened by your good looks. While people often do not verbalised outright that they are threatened, that is exactly the case she adds.
According to another study published in the journal Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, good-looking males are perceived to be more competent than their less attractive counterparts, and are therefore discriminated against in work environments where other males view them as competitors. This notion is further supported by a new research by London’s UCL School of Management has found that handsome men may be rejected for competitive jobs because their good looks make them appear more threatening to colleagues.
With all the conflicting research on whether good looks help or not in the corporate world, the best bet then is to rely on your true capability to perform at work. Yes, good looks might help but only up to a certain extent. The next step is always to display solid performance at work either through sales figures or operational efficiencies.