Do Pretty Girls Get All the Jobs?

Remember when you were in high school, and you'd run crying to your mother about the fact that the pretty girls got all the dates? One of her favorite lines at times like those was, "Don't worry about it, beauty is as beauty does." Well, now that you've graduated, things haven't gotten any better. In this tough economy, it appears that one of the things beauty does is get you a job.

There are even websites dedicated to finding work for the pretty and perky. BeautifulJobSeekers.com, which claims to match up attractive job candidates with physically discerning employers, has a tagline that reads, "More Beauty! More Business!" And SpiritedSales.com is a site that places almost exclusively former cheerleaders. They've recently expanded to work with former athletes and student government officers as well.

According to BeautifulJobSeekers, "Many researches related to the job market have concluded that beautiful people have several advantages over those who are less aesthetically pleasing. For instance, beautiful people are more likely to make a positive impression during a job interview and thus have an increased chance of actually getting hired for a job. And once an attractive person is hired, he or she tends to get a job promotion faster. Also, an attractive person (working, for instance, as a sales representative) tends to generate more business for his or her employer."

In addition the site states, "The current unemployment rate has led to an increased competition on the job market, making it even more important to those looking for employment, to stand out from the crowd. Therefore, the emphasis on beauty, attractiveness and good looks has increased even more."

Many will take comfort in knowing that this site, like many super-attractive people, seems to be more style than substance. There's a window on the homepage where you can rate photos of the job seekers (which is rather tacky), and when I last checked, they only had about 19 job openings listed, in places like Lake Oswego, Ore., and Nampa, Idaho. The majority of these jobs were in sales (eight).

- See average salaries for the following sales jobs: sales associate, regional sales manager, and sales director.

Sales -- especially in pharmaceuticals -- are the main focus of SpiritedSales.com, which was started by a former cheerleader who is also the senior vice president of Varsity Brands, which deals in spirit uniforms, camps and special events. It's considerably more legitimate than BeautifulJobSeekers, claiming that their "candidates are proven leaders and bring with them a strong history of leadership and success. Training becomes a 'sale waiting to happen' when you begin with self motivated, energetic employees."

Although these sites may sound incredibly vain and vacuous, quite a bit of research backs up their claims. According to Dr. Gordon Patzer, author of 'Looks: Why The Matter More Than You Ever Imagined,' "Physical beauty comes with tremendous power, and tremendous benefits. Those who possess it are generally luckier in love, more likely to be popular, and more apt to get better grades in school... Recent studies document that people blessed with good looks earn about 10 percent more than their average-looking colleagues. They are also more likely to get hired and promoted at work."

In his book, Patzer tells of a study in Holland that showed companies with better-looking management consistently billed more hours at higher rates than companies with average-looking management. And, while good-looking executives are more expensive to a company because they have higher salaries, they're worth it, because they increase the bottom line so much.


Moreover, looks discrimination is not unique to management and sales. Anyone who has ever been interviewed has been judged by his or her looks. Research shows that 74 percent of interviewers make hiring decisions within the first four minutes of the interview, based on surface characteristics such as:

  1. Appearance
  2. Handshake
  3. Voice
  4. Body language

So do those of us who aren't strikingly gorgeous even stand a chance of getting ahead in the workplace, or must we resign ourselves to always being surpassed by the better-looking? Workplace commentator Penelope Trunk, author of 'Brazen Careerist: The New Rules for Success,' advises people to stop complaining about something you can't change, go to the gym to get in the best shape you possibly can, and get plastic surgery if you need it. Short of that, she advises you to at least dye your gray hair and fix your teeth.

While that may sound harsh, those wanting to excel in management, sales and Hollywood might do well to heed her advice. And those of us looking for jobs would be naive to believe that our chances of getting a job are based only on how well we perform. Plastic surgery might not be in order, but doing the best you can with what you've got couldn't hurt. An 'A' for effort can go a long way.

Next: As the Economy Goes Down, Exotic Dancing Goes Up



Lisa Johnson Mandell

Lisa Johnson Mandell

Editor

Lisa Johnson Mandell is an award-winning multi-media journalist and author of Career Comeback--Repackage Yourself to Get the Job You Want.  Her work has been translated into 20 different languages, and she is a frequent expert guest and commentator on news and talk shows. She has been featured in The Wall St. Journal, on the CBS Early Show, NBC Today, CNBC, Fox Business News, Dr. Phil, Oprah.com and many other media outlets.  Lisa discusses her AOL pieces each week and interviews vital guests on the web TV show, This Week in Careers. Learn more on LisaJohnsonMandell.com.

Add a Comment

*0 / 3000 Character Maximum

42 Comments

Filter by:
Tiffany

Well sorry to offend you. But I really think/ hope that personality would be the deciding factor if 2 women walked into a job interview with the same credentials. And honestly I have never been to a Hooters, nor do I know anyone who has worked at one.
Recently in my local news, reports are saying that a young woman who worked at Hooters was fired for gaining a little weight. Now, I'm saying that if you get a job based off of JUST how you look, then you need to gain more self respect.
I am not clumping in former hooter-girls, with #2, #3, or #4 just stating them individually. I understand the whole "work with what ya got mentality"- I just prefer to use my personality. So sorry to have offended you, hope you really prefer your new job and career over the old one :)

And by the way the comment; "Just because you probably couldn't get hired based on your looks doesn't mean there is anything wrong with that." Shows that your a real classy lady! Although I do have to admit that my "#4" (statement previously posted) was just me ranting... So I'm guessing that that's the part that really ticked you off, so I do apologize.

June 03 2010 at 9:02 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
JUDY

jessica you must have hung out in the same clubs i did!! majority of women were fat and ugly..as you can guess i was'nt too popular!! seriously this place in seaford n.y.!! what not to wear could've done a years worth of shows and style by jury?? guilty!! all guilty!!

June 03 2010 at 8:29 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
JUDY

hey wendy.thanks!! now i know why i am so young looking and everyone tells me i am pretty/beautiful!! i guess some acne, some illness which made me skinny and some clean living.. really does work!! however let's not forget good genes..!! j.

June 03 2010 at 8:26 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Jessica

This makes no sense because my last two jobs I worked with 99% of the women were fat and ugly so If this is true, where are they working? I never worked with all "HOT" chicks in my life, there was always a variety or mostly ugly

June 03 2010 at 7:48 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
theoz

There was a time in the airline business when good looks were a requirement.If one could find the aircraft, serve meals and pour coffee, one would probably get the job. Then came the end of weight check. And now when folks speak of "wide bodies", the may not be talking about the aircraft.

June 03 2010 at 7:43 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
charsjcca

If attractive women do not get all the best jobs, they should. Why would it be any other way?

June 03 2010 at 6:56 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
sillyown

I started teaching in 1976 when enrollments were declining, money was tight and schools were closing, just like today. I was let go several times from positions because of school closing, and also taught in several leave positions ( filling in for a teacher on child care leave). I was always fortunate to get another job, but realized early on that i only got the job if I had a skirt or dress on. The interviews I went on with pants, did not turn into jobs in those districts.

June 03 2010 at 6:40 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Heather

I've been hired for my looks and not hired for my looks. It all depends on who's doing the hiring. Generally a heterosexual woman would not hire me despite qualifications. Whereas a man, regardless of his sexuality, tends to hire me regardless of qualifications. I've been hired for doing things completely opposite whatever the job was. Being beautiful DOES have it's downfalls and no one ever wants to talk about it. Except Emilie Autumn.

June 03 2010 at 5:30 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Steve Simpson

How tragic for the young and attractive or simply young. Picture this mwm 57 yo executive level experience a proven performer. If you think looks are a problem consider age and experience.
Youth are being hired because they are cheaper. Certainly the experience isnt there. That used to mean something.
Now companies are systematically reducing the age = cost of their employees. Note they also save on health insurance premiums do to the average younger age of there employees.

This is happening in all fields. With a huge pool of potential employees companies are reshuffling their staffs and saving a ton of cash.
So what do you do when people openly tell you the following: Your experience is great: But you are too old, you made too much money and a younger boss is intimidated by an older employee. Oh yeah and if we hire you at a lesser rate you will leave to make more money. What bs that answer is. If you are unemployed and spending your savings that job is a life line. I dont know about everyone else but if someone gave me that break my loyalty and work ethic would be without question.
This is not bs I have experienced it first hand.
So am I crying about it, no.
Like the one lady said I started my own business. I am starving and just getting by but at least its mine.
If there is any solace it came in reading a recent article touting the fear employers now have with a slight improvement to the economy, of a wholesale exodus of employees.
What did you think would happen as- -oles. You treat all of your employees like trash and then wonder why they leave.
Hey atleast it felt good to sound off. By the way I am Happy I am my own boss now. No where to hide when you make mistakes.

June 03 2010 at 4:59 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Laura

Honestly, I think that "attractive" people, at least what society believes attractive to be, seem to feel that they are entitled to more than what is defined as average looking people...Have you noticed that the case of the woman being fired for supposedly being too attractive has been turned into a giant "photo op?" These people, with unnaturally "high self esteem" don't seem to not only socialize themselves the way that others do, but also feel as though they have to work less and do very little to earn money than other people.All the while claiming how hard they work while being offered free lunches... The dose of reality is very small here and I really feel that this is about people who believe that they should have notariety for looking the way that they do..Remember, everyone gets older,and looks fade, and there are companies out there that really care about job performance and intelligence, because they know that looks have shelf lives...

June 03 2010 at 4:52 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Search Jobs

In Partnership With
Keywords:
Location:

Search Articles

Top Companies Hiring

April 20 - April 27

Looking for work? See what companies added new openings this week.