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Study shows, searching for a job is a beauty contest

Study shows, searching for a job is a beauty contest
/ Zia Soleil / Royalty-free /Getty Images

We’ve all heard stories of employers discriminating against "unattractive" job applicants, particularly women— but how often does this occur?

The bad news is more often than you think.

A study from the University of Messina, found that women whom interviewers find ‘unattractive’ have a far-less callback rate.

Researchers sent more than 1100 fake CVs to more than 1500 advertised job openings. Each CV had listed the exact same skills and qualifications but changed the names, genders, and pictures of the "applicants."

According to the results, the study found looks played a huge part in increasing the chances of making the second stage of the recruitment process.

The average callback rate for all the CVs was 30 per cent. But ‘attractive’ women were called back 54 per cent of the time, while unattractive women only had a 7 per cent callback rate.

Meanwhile, the call back rate for ‘attractive’ men was 54 per cent of the time while ‘unattractive’ men had a 26 per cent call back rate.

Of course, the study raises a few questions. For starters, how did they choose which photos to use, and who is deciding which of these photos are of attractive and unattractive people? Clearly, the employers conducting the interviews aren’t admitting to discrimination, so we assume it is the University in the end who decides who is attractive, or not.



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