The Called and the Beautiful: attractive people get more callbacks

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It’s not surprising that beautiful people get a range of advantages because of their looks, but are you more likely to hire someone you find attractive?

A recent Italian study sent out more than 10,000 resumes, all with identical skills but different names, addresses and photos. The researchers were testing biases towards ethnicity, region and attractiveness.

Photos on resumes are less common in Canada, but with LinkedIn and other social media checks becoming common, a good photo could be key to getting a callback. In the past attractiveness bias would not have come into play until the interview process, but now recruiter biases could affect the results early in the process.

The researchers found that the average callback rate was 30% for all the resumes, attractive women got almost double the traction with a 54% callback rate. Attractive men has a callback rate of 47%.

Being considered unattractive was much worse for women than men. Unattractive women had a callback rate of just 7%, while unattractive men were close to average with 26%.

The researchers also found that the callback rates for foreigners was lower than average, although not as extreme as the results for attractiveness. It’s better to be an attractive foreigner than an unattractive local woman.

The study is consistent with other research, including an Argentinian study which found attractive people had a 36% higher callback rate than unattractive people.

It’s not all good news for the beautiful. An Israeli study found that attractive women in the workplace were often discriminated against due to “female jealousy”.

To avoid this, and other areas of bias, lawyers and recruiters recommend having a third party review social media and only pass on relevant information. This will help reduce the beauty bias, but more importantly prevents accusations of discrimination based on protected traits such as age, disability or family status.

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