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Hiring and promoting good-looking people

Picture this. You have two candidates who want the same job. They both have identical qualifications, similar work histories, and amazing attitudes. There’s only one point of difference.  One of them could grace the front cover of Vogue, while the other is more suited to the cover of Death Metal Monthly. One of them makes you blush; the other could give you thrush.  Who would you hire or promote?

A new survey conducted by Nature has found that two-thirds of Australian employees believe that good-looking people are more likely to have successful careers. If this is true, then this means that despite being one of the fattest nations on earth, we still unflappably judge the unflattering.

The national poll also found that 80 percent of people feel that being good-looking is an advantage in job interviews. Perhaps a big bosom or a bulging bicep really does have its benefits, but I wonder how much of that clouds our judgement. Maybe we just think that the two candidates are similar in all respects, but really it’s the unattractive one that has the edge. It just so happens to be that our jaded mind, drunk with lust and visual splendour, is unable to be objective when the body it’s responsible for is so drawn towards a certain individual.

Three-quarters of the people surveyed were convinced that managers prefer good-looking employees.  Could this be because they themselves prefer good-looking colleagues? I’ve lost count of the number of times both male and female friends have commented about the latest hottie to be hovering near the water cooler.

And here’s the clincher. Despite conceding that how they look determines how far they go, only 10 percent of the poll’s respondents were prepared to have cosmetic surgery to improve their career prospects.

Regardless, it seems that some people are happy to promote their looks to land their dream job, or in some cases, any job. I stumbled across an advertisement recently on Gumtree where the title was “Good looking American living in Sydney looking for a job.” This candidate proceeded to talk about the offers he was already receiving, including this one: “I had some dude call me up and wanted to pay me so he can smell my feet.”  Right. Mission accomplished.