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The disadvantages of being handsome

Being very attractive can also be an impediment in today's world.

The disadvantages of being handsome

A research by the American Psychological Association suggests that attractive people may be discriminated against when applying for low-level jobs.

In general, a good appearance is a blessing. Most people think that those that are attractive have everything easier, especially in the workplace; However, the study developed by the London Business School (United Kingdom) states that the most attractive or beautiful people may be disadvantaged in certain hiring situations. Specifically, when applying for jobs perceived as less desirable (such as being employed in a fast food restaurant), physically attractive candidates can be discriminated against negatively, the researchers point out.

The reason for this discrimination -according to the hypothesis of scientists- is that companies seek to hire people who are satisfied with their jobs, but the Prejudice that attractive people have higher expectations leads them to believe that those candidates will not be happy with their work (and will not hire them).

Our research suggests that attractive people can be discriminated against in the selection of relatively less desirable jobs.” This contrasts with a lot of research that concluded that attractiveness generally helps candidates in the selection process, “Margaret explains. Lee, work leader.

To test their hypothesis, the researchers conducted four experiments that included more than 750 participants. With a couple of  photographs who showed different visual appeal, individually asked 148 volunteers to identify which of the two people in the photos was not satisfied with their work. (The photos they used were classified as attractive and unattractive in previous research).

The second study was one step further. They asked 200 volunteers who of the people in the photograph would be dissatisfied with a paper entitled “Team member in the Department of Commercial Operations”.

The last two studies were designed to make the process more similar to the real world, asking volunteers if candidates, both invented and real, would be hired for a variety of desirable and less desirable positions. They also counted on the participation of the human resources managers to evaluate the jobs for which they were looking for personnel.

We found that participants perceived that attractive people had more rights to get good results than unattractive people, and predicted that attractive people would be less satisfied with undesirable work than with an unattractive person,” says Lee.

In other words, the same biases that made us see beautiful people as more worthy of respect, for a well-paid job and a position of authority; also make us think that they are not so suitable for less stimulating and less rewarding tasks.

“In the selection decision for unwanted work, decision-makers were more likely to choose the unattractive individual than the attractive person,” says Lee.

The decisions were not affected by the level of attractiveness of the tenant, nor did the most handsome volunteers report having more right to a more stimulating job.

The most interesting part of our findings is that decision-makers take into account the supposed aspirations of others in their decisions, since participants thought that attractive people would want better results and that they would be less satisfied, they reversed their pattern of discrimination, “says Madan Pillutla, co-author of the work.

The study supports, therefore, the claim that if you want a relatively undesirable job, you should not be too handsome. Before dismissing this research as trivial, it serves as a reminder to verify our prejudices or find ways to eliminate them whenever possible, because the most attractive do not always win in all jobs. And being discriminated against because of an irrelevant physical attribute (being very handsome) is effectively discrimination, no matter how you look at it.


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