Beauty is in the eye of the employer?

Image-conscious applicants spend more time preening than preparing before job interviews...

Last Updated: 31 Aug 2010

In the age of the metrosexual, running a brush through your hair and making sure your shoes are nice and shiny simply don’t cut it any more: according to a new survey, a third of job applicants spend between one and two hours in front of the mirror before they head to a job interview – which, on average, is longer than the actual interview. And while MT is naturally always immaculately turned-out, we can’t help but think that time could be better spent boning up on your subject. But perhaps that’s just us…

According to the survey, by Hays, six in 10 people think that if it’s a toss-up between two similar candidates, the better you look, the more likely an employer is to choose you; while the vast majority (96%) think that the more polished you look, the better your attitude to the role. 84% even say they give some serious thought to the colours they wear to interviews.

It’s a good point. Earlier this year, research by London School of Economics professor Catherine Hakim identified ‘erotic capital’ as an important advantage point when it comes to a person’s career. Erotic capital is the measure of a person’s charm – whether that comes from beauty or personality. According to Hakim, the more erotic capital you have, the more successful you are likely to be – with the most beautiful or charming likely to earn 10-15% more than their dowdy or dull counterparts.

Then there’s research which came out earlier this year, which showed overweight people earn less. The research, by Slimming World, showed employers tend to assume overweight people are lazy, which makes them more likely to be bullied and/ or passed over for a promotion. If you’re overweight, chances are you also earn less than your slim counterparts – and there’s nothing like the chance of a hefty payrise to persuade people to lose weight.

But while we agree making an effort before a job interview shows you genuinely want the job, employers equally don’t want someone who spends half the day preening in the bathroom. And let’s not forget what our grandmothers told us: as we all know, beauty is in the eye of the beholder…

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Beauty is in the eye of the employer?
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