According to new research in the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin good looks may hamper your ability to get hired.
In a series of three studies using simulated interviews, researchers in Germany and the U.S. analyzed the extent to which gender, attractiveness, and self-esteem influenced the hiring process.
When equally-qualified attractive job applicants were up against not-so-attractive candidates, the genetically-gifted fared worse when the interviewer was the same sex and reported low self-esteem. As expected based on previous research, hot people scored better than the ugs with an interviewer of the opposite sex. Turns out, the fairest interviewers were people of the same sex with the highest self-esteem.
The New Rules of Office Attire
This could be because people with low self-esteem feel threatened by someone more attractive, the researchers write.
Your safest bet? Downplay your looks, says Cynthia Shapiro, career coach and author of What Does Somebody Have To Do To Get A Job Around Here? She suggests sporting heavy, dark-rimmed glasses in your next interview—they’ll make you look more intelligent and serious, and less like a stud.
And if you have an interviewer who’s on the soft-spoken side, don’t come on too strong, or you might be seen as a threat. “Match his style, match his pace, match his tone, even match his body language,” says Shapiro. “If you see signs, like the person backs away or his body language changes, stop and tone it down.”