Quiz: Are You Built to Make Big Bucks?

Bored at work? This summer, AOL Jobs will be publishing a career quiz every week to keep you entertained. This quiz was so popular with readers when it originally ran that AOL is republishing it.

With so many people either unemployed or looking to change jobs in today's unpredictable economic environment, people are putting a lot of extra thought and time into their job searches, prepping for their interviews and padding their resumes to stand out as "the ideal hire." However, did you know that your fate as an earner could already be determined by your outward appearance and actions?

Take the quiz below to find out how many attributes and physical characteristics you have that favor you to make some big bucks, regardless of who your former employer was or how gold-plated your work history may be.

1. How tall are you?

a. 6' 0" (+)

b. 5' 6"

c. 5' 4"

d. 5' 2" (-)

Timothy A. Judge, Ph.D. of the University of Florida and researcher Daniel M. Cable, Ph.D. of the University of North Carolina, found a link between taller height in men and higher salaries. Their findings suggest that a 6'0" tall man will earn over $160,000 more over the course of a 30-year career than a shorter man in that same position.

2. What color is your hair?

a. Blond

b. Red

c. Brown

d. Black

Not only do gentlemen prefer blondes, but women with blond hair make a salary that is 7 percent higher than ladies with darker hair, says the University of Queensland.

3. How do people describe your face?

a. Mature looking

b. Wrinkled and weathered

c. Baby-faced and youthful

d. Pudgy

A Duke University study called "A Corporate Beauty Contest" found that mature-looking Caucasian men were perceived as more powerful in the workplace than their youthful, sprite-looking counterparts.

4. How often do you smile?

a. All the time

b. Frequently

c. Occasionally

d. Seldom

Rice University Professor Rick Wilson's new study found that good looks and success go hand in hand, and that people who smile a lot are seen as more trustworthy -- a major bonus in the workplace if you are trying to advance your career or start a new one.

5. Men, how much hair do you have and where is it?

a. Clean shaven with all your own hair

b. Bald

c. Moustache

d. Beard

In today's workplace, there is a huge emphasis on your image and appearance, because it is believed by many that your outward presentation goes along with your inward personality and capabilities. For example, U.S. News & World Report finds that hair implants and plastic surgery can actually improve your workplace standings.

6. Women, do you wear makeup to work?

a. All the time

b. Sometimes

c. Rarely

d. Never

Research and expert advice shows that women who wear makeup to work are perceived as more professional, and that made-up women get promoted faster than those who go au natural.

7. What's your standard workplace attire of choice?

a. Conservative suits

b. Hips dresses or fashionable ties

c. Casual, relaxed clothes

d. Sexy and tight outfits

The Harvard Business Review found that more than half of professional women believed that conservative attire was linked to higher levels of success. There is something to be said for not wearing distracting or inappropriate clothing to the office; after all, you want people to know you are a worker bee, not a working gal.

8. What is your marital status?

a. Married

b. Separated

c. Divorced

d. Single

Want to climb the corporate ladder? Well then hitch your career-star to your better half and enjoy a greater net worth than your single friends, says Dinks Finance and Richard Niolon.

9. What's your ancestry?

a. Russian

b. Chinese

c. French

d. German

According to 'The Millionaire Next Door: The Surprising Secrets of America's Wealthy,' households headed by persons of Russian ancestry tend to have higher net worths.

10. How often do you smoke?

a. Never

b. Occasionally (social smoking, a few cigarettes per month)

c. Frequently (several cigarettes a day)

d. Often (8 or more cigarettes a day)

If you smoke, your net worth may go up in smoke as well. According to 'The Wealth Effects of Smoking' by J.L Zagorsky, non-smokers have a net worth that is 50 percent higher than light smokers.

Calculate your score

To calculate your score, give yourself 20 points for every A answer, 15 for every B, 10 for every C and 5 for every D. (* Please note that while this quiz is based on studies and research, it is in no way scientifically certain and should not be treated as such.)

200 - 170

You are a cut-above the rest and destined to be a top-earner who easily grosses well over six figures each year. Think, law firm partner, investment banker, IT guru and entrepreneurial ninja. For people in this category, the sky is the limit and bonuses are often as big as the bucks you'll earn.


You are still coming out well above average and will enjoy a comfortable lifestyle thanks to your career. Jobs that fall into this second tier category will most likely be in high-end sales, like real estate or pharmaceuticals, or as a physician or a consultant.


Your score is right around the average. You make enough to pay bills, but do not enjoy a lavish lifestyle. Many of the jobs suited to employees in this category are standard office positions, such as federal and state workers, human resources personnel and executive assistants.


You are not destined to make big bucks in your current career situation and may want to rethink your long-term goals for career advancement. Employees in this tier often do shift work or manual labor, and don't seem to make enough to pay their bills.

Clearly getting a job today is just as much about what you look like, as it is about what and who you know.

If you find that your appearance or actions are falling short in certain areas, take the necessary steps to climb the corporate ladder. Regardless of whether the critical factor be shaving, getting hitched or dying your hair -- what do you have to lose?

Some things you have no control over, like your height or eye color; but other things are easily altered (such as how much you smoke), and can be the difference between a six-figure salary and a $50,000 salary.

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Felicia Polk

I'm still stuck on, "Men, How much hair do you have on and where is it? What's your Ancestry's? My points! I totally got ripped off. As I completed the quiz. It excluded me in at least 3 questions which lowered my score to being nothing. Some of the other questions, you made me get back out my make-up; go from natural hair to perm; go blonde; get a sex change from female to male, and began looking for my ancestors. Which they may or may not be anyone of the above listed and that's a job in and of itself. Its a good thing I know better, than to rely on a quiz such as this.
Engaging in this quiz would be very disturbing for anyone, who's having a hard time trying to regain employment in today's tough, slow, growing, economy. Guess What! You have just discouraged them from working that much harder to find a job. Where's the "humor" in that? . Wording and details alters ones thought process. This quiz only raised many questions for me. In today's world we turn around and never know if we are going to turn back around.
I'm one who has made a complete transition of my appearance. I know my black is beautiful, natural or otherwise. When I set out to compete with 100's of other applicants to one, in a tough job market as this. I need encouragement not discouragement.

So for me the quiz is very disappointing, because it clearly shows discrimination still exist in the hiring process. Unfortunately, as much as I hate to be the one to agree with Kent's quiz. These are the new sneaky tactful ways many company's, business, and corporations discriminate.
Please folks trust me its still out there. Many companies have just found different ways. Some of whats listed in the quiz and some are not. Like weight, now age over 50, which used to began over 60, area's in which you live "calling it the hood or ghetto," etc. These are hidden issues and hard to prove, harder than proving what's already written in discrimination law. My feeling is It will continue to grow especially with the current political upset.
Although the truth of it all! If not so culturally and gender biased, it could've been a better quiz. Spending just a little more time researching or adding more equality to your quiz. Would've probably gave a different meaning to humor. Making the quiz a little more appealing to the viewers eyes and thoughts of today. It caught our attention, because we want to make big bucks but what a bit discouraging for some of those who would like to think people in the world have changed their way of thinking for the betterment of this society. You gave us what we need to know in one aspect but what a way to do it. I know it sucks to be you right now.

November 11 2012 at 10:23 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Kent Zelas

Thank you all for your comments. This quiz was intended as a tongue-in-cheek -- and admittedly unscientific -- look at some of the challenges of making it to the very top of the corporate ladder. Obviously the humor fell flat for some readers, which we regret -- especially if it left you feeling at all discouraged, since our mission at AOL Jobs is just the opposite.

Thanks again for the feedback. We understand why this quiz struck a sour note for many of you and apologize.

Kent Zelas
Copy Editor
AOL Jobs

August 21 2012 at 2:09 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply

This is a really pathetic report as it reflects the racism and sexism that is still prevalent in this modern society contrary to what the uninformed think. So the tall blond male or potentially female to a small extent own the world of business as usual. What a waste of space to write this and tax dollars for the study. It proves what we all know that it is a white man's world!!!!!!!!!!

August 17 2012 at 8:59 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

The math doesn't even work, the person that wrote this article should have a ZERO.

August 17 2012 at 8:25 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Kind of a racist quiz... but okay. Instead of going by stats for tall, married white guys, why not include it for single black women, or divorced asian men, or gay Latino men? Just saying. Thanks for reinforcing the notion that if your a tall white male you have a better chance at getting ahead in the American work force. Way to go AOL

August 17 2012 at 8:02 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

This is extremely unscientific. As someone who does interviews of candidates for potential jobs at HR. Education, experience, job knowledge, expertise always comes first but we do notice the secondary traits since this person who comes in for an interview will have the image that you will see on the daily basis. With with all those qualities, then we go to the secondary traits which is often genetics. I think she entirely overplays the genetic factor which one cannot alter. As a firm, I usually count how many time the interviewee made eye contact, smile, and present oneself which is critical in today's competitive job market. Being tall, blond, male, none smoking, and clean shaven isn't going to cut it.

August 17 2012 at 8:01 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I've been a recruiter , around rercuiting, staffing, owned and founded a staffing firm have been involved for 35 years. Interviewed $7.00 per hour warehouse trainees - $350,000.00 directors. Interveiwed over 5000 people. I wonder where they get their data from ? Gwen Parkes is not living in the real world so if you don't measure up folks know that this is a total load of crap and bullshit like this makes me want to go back to a more reliable source if factual information which in this case the National Enquirer would do

August 17 2012 at 7:40 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

So pointless. Half of the questions are for men and half for women, how are we supposed to tally a competent score?

August 17 2012 at 7:10 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

you know what!!! it makes me wonder. Here in America when someone crosses the Missisippi river they think they went overseas

August 17 2012 at 7:04 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Type your comment hereOk- so, I smoke, am 5 feet 7, female, dress casual for work, married, (hey babe- if you read this) and, am Italian/American. Happen to have a great job- and, am very successful! This article is bogus- and, apparently written by yet another genius who is a complete, incompetent, moronic idiot! However, I do wear makeup, and, smile- a lot! So, maybe not such a moronic idiot!

August 17 2012 at 7:02 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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