Do you have a hiring bias against handsome men?

Too attractive to work together? A new study indicates there may be a negative bias against good-looking applicants

Do you have a hiring bias against handsome men?
Handsome men looking for a competitive job may find it more difficult than their less aesthetically pleasing counterparts – at least according to a new study from UCL School of Management.

Researchers say attractive men are often perceived as more competent and while on the surface this may seem like good news to good-looking applicants, it can actually work against them.

According to the UCL academics, if the role is in a competition-based department – like sales – their good looks make them appear more threatening to colleagues.

This, they claim, could result in discrimination – especially as one of the key decision-makers is expected to compete against them.

However – and perhaps unsurprisingly – there is a potential positive to winning the genetic lottery after all.

In line with being perceived as more competent, attractive males are preferred for roles that require cooperation.

Assistant professor Dr. Lee Sun Young found that managers in collaborative workplaces – such as R&D departments – tend to hire good-looking male candidates over less attractive ones.

A similar trend can be detected in workplaces which reward for team performance – especially if the decision maker would be in the same team as the attractive recruit.

Sun Yung suggested this phenomenon may be down to decision makers thinking the handsome male employee would help further the decision maker’s own success.

“Managers are affected by stereotypes and make hiring decisions to serve their own self-interests,” Dr. Lee said, “so organisations may not get the most competent candidates.

“Awareness that hiring is affected by potential work relationships and stereotyping tendencies can help organisations improve their selection processes,” she added.

“For example, engaging external representatives may improve selection outcomes as outsiders are likely to provide fairer inputs.

“Also, if organisations make managers more accountable for their decisions, they’ll be less motivated to pursue self-interests at the expense of the company.”
 
Related stories:
 
Why you hire who you do – and how to do it better
 
Bias against obese people on the rise
 
Gay women are higher earners – but employers still "biased against gay men"

Free newsletter

Our daily newsletter is FREE and keeps you up-to-date with the world of HR. Please complete the form below and click on subscribe for daily newsletters from HRD Asia.

Recent articles & video

How can tech improve your healthcare strategy?

Worker spikes colleagues with LSD because they’re ‘too uptight’

After Disney-Fox merger, thousands brace for massive job cuts

Transforming and redesigning jobs: a "how-to"

Most Read Articles

Worker sues after being fired while on sick leave following miscarriage

Mental wellness: why C-suite should lead the discussion

Is your workplace culture toxic?