Beauty is in the eye of the employer : a study to examine the prevailing influence of beauty in candidate selection

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Thompson, Julianne
Issue Date
BA in Psychology
Dublin Business School
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A persons' physical appearance along with their sexual identity, is the personal characteristic which is the most obvious and accessible to others in social interaction. The aim ofthis experiment was to examine whether physically attractive stimulus individuals as opposed to unattractive stimulus persons regardless of gender are deemed to be good in a wide variety of ways. According to Dion, Berscheid & Walster (1972) the "what is beautiful is good" hypoFinal Year Project is still pervasive in employment today. This theory notes that individuals who more physically attractive are seen to possess goodness in character, sociability, love, life and are more favoured in attaining a job. Thus this study examined if physical attractiveness were a determinant in attaining employment primarily for a neutral job and secondly for a masculine typed job. This present study used 108 recruitment consultants to rate the subject's hireability. In the first condition 60 consultants aged between 18-26 were asked to rate the hireability of either a physically attractive female and physically unattractive female applicant or between a physically attractive male and physically unattractive male applicant. Each of the two sets of applicants were applying for a bank clerk position, which was a neutral type of job. Thirty of the consultants were female and the other half were male. Each of the consultants were given a brown envelope, which contained two CV' s which were constant, attached to one CV was the attractive applicants picture and a response sheet. Attached to the other CV was the unattractive applicants CV and picture and response sheet, each applicant had to fill out both of the response sheet. In the second condition 48 consultants took part in rating the hireability of the applicants who were applying for a male gender typed job. The position that was vacant was that of a managerial executive position. In this condition each of the consultants received a brown envelope, which contained two CV's attached to one CV, was a picture of an attractive female applicant, attached to the second was a picture of an unattractive female applicant. Each consultant was asked to answer the response sheet in order to study the hireability ratings given to each applicant. It was proposed that in the first condition due to the "what is beautiful is good" hypoFinal Year Project that there would be a significant difference between the hireability ratings given to the attractive and unattractive applicants, a significant difference occurred. Thus the "what is beautiful is good hypoFinal Year Project was supported. In the second condition it was hypoFinal Year Projected that there would be a significant difference between the hireability ratings given to the attractive and unattractive female applicant. However no significant difference was found, therefore the "beauty is beastly" hypoFinal Year Project was not supported.