Can Facial Flaws Cost You the Job?11/12/11
SATURDAY, Nov. 12 (HealthDay News) -- Birthmarks, scars and
other facial blemishes may make it harder for people to land a job,
new research suggests.
This is because interviewers can be distracted by unusual facial
features and recall less information about job candidates,
according to the investigators at Rice University and the
University of Houston.
"When evaluating applicants in an interview setting, it's important to remember what they are saying," Mikki Hebl, a psychology professor at Rice University, said in a university news release. "Our research shows if you recall less information about competent candidates because you are distracted by characteristics on their face, it decreases your overall evaluations of them."
One experiment involved about 170 undergraduate students who
conducted mock interviews via a computer while their eye activity
was tracked. The more the interviewers' attention was distracted by
facial blemishes, the less they remembered about the job candidate
and the lower they rated them.
In a second experiment, 38 full-time managers conducted
face-to-face interviews with job candidates who had a facial
birthmark. All the managers had experience interviewing people for
jobs but were still distracted by the birthmarks.
"The bottom line is that how your face looks can significantly influence the success of an interview," Hebl said. "There have been many studies showing that specific groups of people are discriminated against in the workplace, but this study takes it a step further, showing why it happens. The allocation of attention away from memory for the interview content explains this."
The findings were recently published online in the
Journal of Applied Psychology.
The investigators said they hoped their research would help
raise awareness about this type of workplace discrimination.
The American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive
surgery for facial scars.
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