University Study Examines Female-Beauty Stereotyping in Employment Interviews

Previous studies have shown that women have difficulty in obtaining jobs in male-dominated fields. This has been shown to be particularly true when the interviewer considers the job applicant to have physical beauty.

sjohnsonBut a new study led by Stephanie Johnson, an assistant professor of management and entrepreneurship at the University of Colorado in Boulder, finds that women can offset this discrimination by acknowledging their attractiveness to the interviewer.

Dr. Johnson conducted an experiment with 355 participants who were shown a resume, a written statement from the applicant, and a photograph of the candidate for a job in the construction industry. The study’s participants were far more likely to recommend women who included sentences in their written statement that read along the lines of: “I know I don’t look like your typical applicant,” or “I know there aren’t a lot of women in this field.”

Dr. Johnson states that it “turns out there’s merit in the old Pantene ad, ‘Don’t hate me because I’m beautiful.’ If a sufferer of female-beauty stereotyping addresses the issue, the perpetrator leaves behind preconceived ideas and is able to clearly see her professional qualities.”

Dr. Johnson is a graduate of Claremont McKenna College in California. She holds a master’s degree and a Ph.D. from Rice University in Houston, Texas.

The study, “Don’t Hate Me Because I’m Beautiful: Acknowledging Appearance Mitigates the ‘Beauty Is Beastly’ Effect, was published in the journal Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes. It may be accessed here.

Filed Under: DiscriminationResearch/Study


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