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Study: handsome men often overlooked for competitive roles


Thursday, December 10, 2015, 2:40 PM

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Sometimes, it’s the pretty boys who finish last.

At least that’s what a team of researchers at University College London’s School of Management say — after a study found that good looks don’t always help men get promoted at their jobs.

“Managers are affected by stereotypes and make hiring decisions to serve their own self-interests so organizations may not get the most competent candidates,” said Dr. Sun Young Lee, an assistant professor at the school.


Lee’s team found that handsome men are typically perceived to be more competent than those not graced with a chisled jawline or great hair.

But in a in a competitive work environment — such as a sales company — research shows that hiring managers believe an attractive man could intimidate future coworkers.

The study, published in the journal of Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, showed that managers were also less likely to hire a hunk, for fear it could lead to more competition for internal jobs in the future.

The study also found that attractive women aren’t typically subjected to the same prejudice.

Lee believes this is because female attractiveness isn’t as closely associated with competence.

The research suggests that companies should hold employers more accountable for their hiring decisions in order to lessen any self-serving agendas when interviewing potential candidates, Lee said.

One way for companies to eliminate the bias would be to use outside recruiters to employ new staff, Lee said.

“Awareness that hiring is affected by potential work relationships and stereotyping tendencies can help organizations improve their selection processes,” Lee said.


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