The Real Reason You Didn't Get That Job

It's all in the feet, researchers say

Man tying shoe laces
Getty Images

Ever wonder why you didn't get that juicy job? You did your homework, rocked social media, polished your interviewing skills. But research reveals some stunning surprises about the power of those snap first impressions. Want to avoid career calamity?

It turns out not just foot fetishists have a thing about feet. Researchers at the University of Kansas say that people can accurately judge 90 percent of a stranger's personality simply by looking at the person's shoes. In a study published in Journal of Research in Personality participants guessed a stranger's age, gender, and income simply by looking at their shoes. They also linked certain personality traits to different shoes.

Wear These
Fashionable women's red high heels shoe with reflection

"More masculine-looking" pairs were perceived as being worn by "less agreeable people, " while stylish shoes were assumed to be donned by rich, conscientious folks.

People rocking those hipster ankle boots came across as aggressive. But if you're applying for a job at a digital agency in Brooklyn, those boots might be the smart move. An insurance office in Chagrin Falls, Ohio? Stick with the classics. One smart way to figure out your shoe strategy? Before your interview, hang out at a nearby coffee shop, lobby, or parking lot of the company and watch like it's the finale of Project Runway. You'll get a strong sense of what's appropriate for that particular workplace culture.

Not These
Blue ladies shoe on a white shelf
Getty Images

One trait participants didn't spot accurately: Attachment Anxiety. If you have several (definition of several, please) pairs of new shoes or take exceptional care of them, you may suffer from "attachment anxiety," meaning you may spend an inordinate amount of time worrying about what other people think of your appearance. Or you just know when the annual Spring Nordstrom Shoe Sale is on.

How to Ace a Job Interview

Add a Comment

*0 / 3000 Character Maximum


Filter by:

My husband did not get that job because discrimination. Few months ago a friend of his was hired through the job shop as a technician with BS degree in the electronic company in Palo Alto. Actually 2 friends of my husband were hired temporary through the job shop. And another friend applied directly to the company and was hired permanent with full time benefit. Then one friend who works part time handed my husband's resumme directly to the lady who is one of the interviewer. The lady suggested my husband apply directly to the company before she interview him.
At the end of the interview the lady ask my husband: " where did you go to high school?" I don't know is that discrimination or not? Finally, my husband did get the job even the second interviewer said he liked my husband. A month later my husband received a call from a job shop from a female person. She reminded my husband a bout the interview which he had last time and was refused because they hired some one else. And she told him the name of the lady who was interviewed him last time wants to hire him now through her job shop. My husband was supprised because he did not apply this company through this job shop. But the lady from job shop said the interviewer offered my husband $26 dollars for an hour. My husband said why his friends are payed $28.00 and they had the sam BS degree from the same school why is $26.00 for my husband.He asked the job shop lady for the sam money his friend got payed. Then the job shop lady told him let her talk to the interview lady for that request. The next day she called and told my husband the interviewer offered my husband 1 dollar more which become $27.00 per hour. My husband denied that. I really up set for my husband about that but because we have two children to raise and 1 of the child has issue mental problem so over a week I asked my husband call the job shop lady to accept the last offer. She answer but said she will ask the interview lady. Many weeks passed she did not call my husband.
Is that discrimination? The interview lady and my husband are from Vietnam and English is our second language. During the interview they spoke English only.My husband answered her he went to high school in Vietnam.

April 13 2014 at 5:49 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Nobody really likes those pointy high heels. They are uncomfortable and unsafe. They are unstable just like the person who is wearing them. Your pictures are out of date with what people really want to wear. If you have to ride the bus or walk a mile to get home, you are going to immediately change out of those painful torture devices. The ones you say not to wear have a better heel, but still too high. Get real. What do we have to do to get manufacturers and designers of women's footwear to come up with something that can be worn in the office but not dangerous and uncomfortable? Please.

April 12 2014 at 2:49 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I once hired a young woman who would have lost out if there had been another equally qualified candidate.......why? She was wearing what I called "Dragon Lady" fingernails. Since the company, a graphics organization, was multi racial, multi cultural and both gay and straight, this wasn't going to be a great problem (and she did work out well) but I also had an eye to a developing client base that was also "walk-in" business and I wanted the staff to appear business oriented on first impression. By the way, when I was interviewed for the manager's job, I caused concern because I was impeccably and fashionably groomed for business. When advised that the company was informal, I understood what they were getting at......and I said I recognized that, but felt it would be risky to ever go to any interview looking less than business like......and I also had another appointment scheduled in a few hours (which actually was true) I was hired. I think it's a no brainer.....if you're going on an interview.....look clean and groomed (avoiding frivolous) While we're on the subject, avoid "terminally cutsey" messages on your answering machine if that is the number you have put on your resume.

April 06 2014 at 12:35 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Articles like this perpetuate sexism. Why should women be expected to "impress" in a pair of torturous looking shoes like the stiletto heels and pointy toes in the picture. What about intelligence, qualifications, personality?

April 06 2014 at 12:02 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
Nancye Combs

As a HR professional, who has hired thousands of employees in 44 years, job seekers should know that appearance should be aligned with the potential employer's business. Platform heels, body piercings, editorial tee shirts and mismatched socks, work in some companies, but not at the conversative bank on your corner. Appearance tells us whether the applicant spent any time at all learning about the company before showing up for interview. To think shoes determine wheher you are hired is a gross oversimplifiacation of an incredibly complicated process of evaluating knowledge, skills, abilities, behavior and potential, to find the right person for the right job. For those of us who do that, it is a lifetime process of learning and improving our selection ability and never addresses what kind of shoes a person wears.

April 06 2014 at 11:07 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply

There is also another's called age descrimination.....aka " Overqualified"

April 06 2014 at 11:06 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

At one of my first jobs when I was in my 20s I told my boss, in a very polite way, that the employees who worked under me were dissatisfied with the way that our project was being managed - things like last minute changes that meant working overtime, etc. Two weeks later, I was fired.

I immediately went looking for another job and I had an interview with the owner of a company in the same field who was acquainted with my former boss. When he asked me why I left the other company, I told the truth and said that my boss and I did not agree on how the project should be managed. After that, I thought for sure I would not be hired, but I was. In addition to having the appropriate education and being qualified for the job, I think the owner respected my honesty. Of course, that was in the days when you were interviewed by the manager who you would actually be working for, not some HR person who is overly concerned with your appearance and "personality."

April 06 2014 at 10:32 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

Hiring myths are silly. Depends entirely on who's doing the hiring. I had a boss once who'd take candidates to lunch and not hire anyone who salted their food.

Equally pointless - requirements that some wonk in a meeting deemed imperative before considering a candidate.

I got hired once because I had dated the now-husband of the woman doing the interviewing. I didn't match a single criteria that they had defined as "necessary" for the job - which made me the least "qualified" for the job - yet I went on to become the highest producing sales rep in the entire company, selling more than entire other regions of the company.

Go figure.

April 06 2014 at 10:29 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to thegrrrr8est's comment

salted their food? or salted it without tasting it first, more likely.

April 06 2014 at 2:00 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

you have to dress to impress .Even if you can't spell or be responceable

April 06 2014 at 9:36 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

One of the best hires I ever made (for a money center bank) was a young man who interviewed well but was wearing beautiful shoes and had a light scent of a wonderful cologne. I remember telling him this years later. On the a related note, I was once told that the decision to hire me was predicated upon my standing and shaking the hand of the interviewer when they entered the room to introduce themselves to me.

April 06 2014 at 8:58 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Search Articles

Picks From the Web