When I encashed a cheque today at a certain bank, I found one of the tellers cute and like most men who finds a girl attractive, wanted a closer look. Then it hit me, she was there for a reason, or rather she got her job for a reason - among others is because of her looks. How many times have you seen "Pleasing Personality" when you come across job ads? Doesn't it sound ambiguous whenever you hear that word? Well I learned during my HR Mgmt class that it's a euphemism for "someone who looks good" and that there are actually some positions that requires an attractive employee for the job such as front desk staff, bank tellers and hotel lobby personnel. Since these type of establishments depend on first impressions, they need to have a reason for their clients not to get turned off and actually have a reason to come back.
It's not only in our country that employers favor those who look better, in fact in countries like China. Fresh college graduates and Job Seekers are pressured to undergo cosmetic surgery just to get any advantage to land the job they're applying for. As one student who had surgery to get double eyelids puts it, "They may not say it openly, but during the process they will pick the prettier one" It might seem cruel and really unfair, but you can't blame people for being this way due to the "halo effect" that more attractive people have on us, taller people are considered more capable and healthy than their shorter counterparts. While there are laws that forbid job discrimination based on race, ethnicity, sex or religion, no similar legal oversight covers physical appearance. Some employers routinely specify desired height, weight and other physical requirements. A nursing position at the Beijing Modern Women’s Hospital requires applicants to be taller than 5'2 1/2 and have “acceptable facial features” while a government post puts emphasis on appearance, one extreme case in the Hunan province required their civil servants to have "symmetrical breasts" which was later scrapped for good reason. Even procedures that lighten the skin are also highly desired as it is considered to be more delicate and desirable to have a fairer complexion.
Here is an excerpt from the article...
"More, commonly young Chinese looking to boost their job prospects want double eyelids, higher or sharper noses, rounder cheekbones and other changes that will give a face smoother lines, softer curves and symmetrical features. The Chinese call it san ting wu yan, or three equal parts and five eyes. From the chin to the bottom of the nose to the top of the eyebrow should be equidistant, while the space from one temple to the other should be five equal parts, each the width of an eye"
Source: LA Times
As much as we want "equal opportunity" when hiring employees, it is human nature for us to prefer people who are more pleasing to the eyes. Clients and customers would also be more willing to do business with attractive employees or somebody who looks pleasant, it would be easier to convince clients if they are on a date with your sales people rather than have them talk to someone they'd find repulsive but we must also consider that in some jobs it is the person's skills that counts and as HR practitioners we musn't give in to our biases especially if the person's looks wouldn't affect him/her performing his/her job. But as a tip for job hunters, one must really be conscious of his/her appearance, you don't need to look like Brad Pitt or Megan Fox but be sure that you know good grooming, what clothes to wear, and be hygienic in order for your prospective employer to see that "your look" is that of someone who fits the company image and the person they're looking for, if you could project yourself to be that person, half the game is done!
Here are some tips on what to wear for an interview:
a) Dark-colored slacks (black/brown)
b) Long sleeves button down polo
c) Necktie (no fancy designs)
a) Knee length skirt (A-line/pencil cut)
d) Closed high-heeled shoes (at least 2")
Source: Job Hunting Skills Module
Here are some pics of people who went under the knife: