Study finds Ugly Guys and Beautiful Women discriminated against in Getting Job Interviews

Posted by PITHOCRATES - April 1st, 2012

Week in Review

Here’s an interesting study.  One to give you pause the next time you don’t get called for a job interview (see Don’t hate me because I’m beautiful posted 3/31/2012 on The Economist).

Bradley Ruffle at Ben-Gurion University and Ze’ev Shtudiner at Ariel University Centre looked at what happens when job hunters include photos with their curricula vitae, as is the norm in much of Europe and Asia. The pair sent fictional applications to over 2,500 real-life vacancies. For each job, they sent two very similar résumés, one with a photo, one without. Subjects had previously been graded for their attractiveness.

For men, the results were as expected. Hunks were more likely to be called for an interview if they included a photo. Ugly men were better off not including one. However, for women this was reversed. Attractive females were less likely to be offered an interview if they included a mugshot. When applying directly to a company (rather than through an agency) an attractive woman would need to send out 11 CVs on average before getting an interview; an equally qualified plain one just seven.

Fascinating.  Handsome men get interviews more often than beautiful women.  So what’s the common link that made this happen?  What, or who, discriminates against ugly guys AND beautiful women?  Are handsome men smarter than ugly guys as well as beautiful women?  No, I don’t think so.  For history is strewn with ugly guys that were brilliant.  Abraham Lincoln was a brilliant man.  Yet even he thought he was an ugly man.  Estée Lauder was a beautiful woman as well as a brilliant entrepreneur.  So, no, that theory appears not to hold much water.  So what could the source of this discrimination be?

So the cause of the discrimination must lie elsewhere. Human resources departments tend to be staffed mostly by women. Indeed, in the Israeli study, 93% of those tasked with selecting whom to invite for an interview were female. The researchers’ unavoidable—and unpalatable—conclusion is that old-fashioned jealousy led the women to discriminate against pretty candidates.

Ah, mystery solved.  It’s just old-fashioned jealousy.   Woman wanted to make things easier in the hiring process for the handsome man.  And more difficult for the beautiful woman.  For whatever reason.  Though we can guess.

Women may help men they are attracted to.  And they may not want to bring attractive women into the workplace.  Seeing them as competition.  Either for those handsome men.  Or in career advancement.  What G.L. Staines, T.E. Jayaratne, and C. Tavris called the queen bee syndrome.   Where a woman enjoys her advancement in the company.  But wants to be the only woman to advance in the company. 

Whatever the reason what is really interesting is that it’s women discriminating against women.  Something I’m sure the feminists probably never saw coming.  And something you’d love to hear them explain.  For only men were supposed to act this way.  And it turns our women can be just as human as men are.  Unfair decisions and all.


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