You know me – I don’t shy away from the tough topics. I blog about what I believe and let the chips fall where they may. And oh yes, they do fall. Recently, I have blogged about conquering your fears, creating good luck, battling complacency, indulging your inner schizo – all very helpful topics, doncha think? But these are all traits and skills that can be learned. What if your issue is more nature than nurture? What if the water in your gene pool is a little less than fresh? What if….actually, Fred Sanford said it best in 1973 so I’ll just ask – if you stuck your face in dough, would you make gorilla cookies?
The Truth about Beauty and Success
Studies confirm what we already know – that good looking people have advantages in life. Maybe it’s not fair, but listen up – that’s the way it is. A Princeton study showed that after an interview, an attractive person’s chance of getting a callback is over ten percentage points higher than Fugly Dooright. A hottie of either sex earns, on average, 3-4% more than a nottie every year. Over a career, this compounds to more than $200,000. This is just the tip of the iceberg – attractive people are better at sales, get higher sale prices as realtors, get better performance appraisals, and are generally seen as more valuable to their companies than their less blessed cohorts. And the benefits don’t stop when they leave the office – the lookers also get lighter sentences from juries, are awarded higher damages in suits, and the list goes on. These folks also bask in a phenomenon known as the “halo effect”, where because of one exceptional quality (in this case, looks), they are also perceived to be kinder, more honest, and more talented than others. And until Congress adds “facial symmetry” to the Americans with Disabilities Act, there is no law preventing discrimination against unattractive people. Companies can (and do) hire who they believe will perform best, and those with the lucky lineage of above average height, average weight, nice hair and white teeth clearly have an advantage.
Lick a Tic-Tac?
So what’s a non-supermodel to do? If you can’t beat ‘em, do your best to join ‘em. I’m serious – this is a real issue with real economic consequences, and my advice is specific and actionable as always. In my career I have interviewed dozens of job seekers, and based on this (sometimes fragrant) experience, I believe I am qualified to dispense the following fashion tips from the House of Kolb:
#1. Tuck in your (clean and pressed) shirt. Zip your fly and be sure your shoes are clean and shined. I don’t care if you live in a dog park, but you don’t have to prove it on the floor of my office.
#2. Shower and brush your teeth (at least daily). I’m sure Oreos are great with peanut butter – ‘nuff said.
#3. Got hair? Wash it.
#4. Wear clothes that fit.
And because studies consistently show that attractive people are seen as personable, trustworthy and honest, you need to embrace that troika even if it kills you, Crankenstein. Here’s one last parting tidbit in case you’re having a tough time with this topic. During the last recession, a Newsweek study of recruiting managers found over half recommended that prospective employees spend as much time and money polishing their appearance as on polishing their resumes.
Gisele Bundchen said it best, “Always powder your T-zone and the lines going from your nose down around your mouth so you don’t look like a bulldog…”
Thanks, Gisele. What she means is, look the part.
If you don’t, someone else will.