Some women may joke that flaunting certain parts of their body during an interview will get them the job, but in Italy, being attractive to get a job is no joke. That’s because a recent study found that attractive job applicants were far more likely to get a callback from an employer than those who were deemed unattractive.
Contrary to the American interview process, which, for the most part, relies solely on an applicant’s resume or CVs to get an initial interview, the Italian interview process begins with an applicant’s resume, supplemented by a video resume, “in which they present and enhance themselves,” the researchers from the University of Messina wrote.
The researchers wanted to investigate whether previous characterizations of the job market still held true — most jobs were concentrated in the north and center of the country and were geared toward men — or whether there had been a shift in how employers made their decisions.
To test this, the researchers sent out 11,008 fake CVs to real job postings. Every CV showed the same education, work experience, and language and computer skills, with names, nationalities, sex, race, and pictures of the applicants being the only things that changed. Some CVs were also sent without photos. Applicants’ photos, and their attractiveness, were determined by ratings from 100 students at the school — 92 percent of them agreed on a single classification.
Employers responded to about 30 percent of the CVs (3,278 CVs). Of them, 54 percent of women and 47 percent of men who were considered attractive got callbacks, compared to 26 percent of unattractive men and, even worse, only seven percent of unattractive women, Business Insider reported. Unattractive women fared just as badly as non-Italian applicants, who received 13 percent and 12 percent of callbacks among men and women, respectively.
“We could say that if you want a job in Italy and you are not Italian, it will be difficult to find it, but it is always better to be a foreigner than to be an unattractive Italian woman,” the researchers wrote. “Thus searching for a job seems to be just like a beauty contest: it is better for unattractive women to invest on aesthetic surgery than in education.”
Attractiveness has also been associated with a slew of other job-related benefits, including higher salaries and faster promotions. Dario Maestripieri, a professor of comparative human development, evolutionary biology, and neurobiology at the University of Chicago, told Business Insider that it’s because attractive people tend to bring in more money to their employers. He said that a door-to-door insurance salesman is more likely to sell if he’s attractive, calling the concept “the pleasure of dealing with good-looking people.”
“Good-looking people are more appealing as potential sex partners,” Maestripieri told Business Insider, “and (so) other people choose to interact with them, to spend time near them, talk to them, buy insurance from them, and hire them as employees.”