HERE’S one poser for those in the recruitment industry. “Which would you hire—an ugly but talented job applicant or a personable one but lacks the brain?” The question was posed to me last Saturday by some serious students trying to complete a course on human resource management as we tackled ethical considerations in the hiring process.
I borrowed a lawyer’s hat, and immediately replied: “It depends!” And proceeded with an answer that you’ll hear from practical-minded hiring managers. “Of course, it depends on your business objective. If you’re in the hospitality industry, you’ll give weight to someone who is either beautiful or handsome, never mind his/her sampay-bakod grades in college. However, if the job opening is for the back-office, you’ll tend to give priority to an intelligent wild life than a brainless beauty.
Well, that usually happens with employers giving first priority to personable job applicants who notch the first few opportunities for an interview. Still, there’s no guarantee that Miss or Mister Universe will get that job.
So what’s the use of the not-so-good looking people who are often discriminated against by hiring managers, long before they set foot in the employers’ office?
Looking back, I remember an incident involving a bank that practiced specialized tasking – in this case it assigned female tellers who looked menacing to handle withdrawals, while the pretty ones were assigned to accept only new accounts and handle deposits by awestruck bank clients.
Unpleasant-looking workers may also be useful at the claims desks in the insurance industry and the customer complaints sections of retail establishments and related businesses. Let’s face it: we live in an imperfect world.
“Your chances of getting a job interview greatly increase if you’re an attractive woman,” says senior reporter Pamela Engel of Business Insider in her October 10, 2014 article with the same title. Engel is quoting job-search engine Shiftgig, which is also the same subject of Christian Rudder’s book – Datalclysm (2014), which studied 5,000 profiles of women job applicants and found the most attractive women who posted their photos with their profiles scoring the most number of interviews….
“Studies have shown that overall, attractive women get significantly more call backs than women who were found less attractive. In the case of hourly and service workers, however, the same isn’t true for men. The number of job interviews men scored didn’t change much with their perceived attractiveness.”
If beautiful people have the greatest chances in this planet to get those few jobs available, then how do we level the playing field for the ordinary-looking Janes and Johns, like you and me? The answer comes from Joe Carter, senior editor of Acton Institute who emphasizes the incontestable benefits of being an ugly person.
First, “ugly people are appreciated for their personality.” I’d like to believe that Carter means “total” personality, which makes you focus on the heart and mind of that person rather than his/her physical qualities.
Second, “ugly people are funnier.” Think of all the comedians around us. You tend to like them because of their positive aura in life. They smile a lot, not necessarily as a defense mechanism but to make you feel at ease around them, and to open your doors to new opportunities.
Third, “ugly is cheap and easy” because of its low maintenance requirements. When you’re ugly, you tend to forget trivialities like putting on make-up or getting a facelift as you believe it would not make any difference at all, anyway.
Fourth, “ugly people are more successful.” Unlike beautiful people who have self-confidence, ugly ones must work doubly, if not triply, hard to earn more money and get what they want. Carter asks: “Do you think there would be a Microsoft if Bill Gates looked like George Clooney?”
Fifth, “ugly people are the majority.” Attractive people are very few. But, can you imagine the strength and influence of ugly people, if it decides to unite as a party-list and secure all possible seats in Congress? Truly, in numbers there’s strength.
Sixth, being “ugly is inevitable.” The sooner you reach 30 years of age, your physical appearance starts to wilt and smell like the dust of the earth. That’s according to medical science. You can’t avoid it, regardless of how many billions you have in your bank or elsewhere.
If we live long enough, we will all get ugly. And so, why bother?
Rey Elbo is a business consultant specializing in human resources and total quality management as a fused interest. Send feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Facebook, LinkedIn, or Twitter for his random management thoughts on Elbonomics.