The effect of female physical attractiveness when managers rank candidate resumes for a traditional male-oriented manufacturing role

by Kramer, Amy E., Ph.D., CAPELLA UNIVERSITY, 2007, 164 pages; 3258762


The focal point of this study was to understand the relationship between a female candidate's physical appearance, qualifications, and the hiring decision to determine the impact that the physical attractiveness stereotype might have on hiring decisions. Employers must be cautious about the level of unmitigated predisposition within the hiring process, as it can put the organization at risk for unethical employment practices and create barriers that exclude certain individuals without legitimate reasoning. The forthcoming study revealed several key findings. Within this study it was found that the decisions of hiring managers are dependent on the appearance of the candidate with the highest level of attractiveness (α = .031) and the appearance of the least attractive candidate (α = .000). In addition this study found that when the most attractive (α = .031) and when the least attractive (α = .000) were chosen they were likely the most qualified candidate. This provided some degree of evidence that physical attractiveness influences the perceptions and decisions of hiring managers when evaluating candidates at the earliest stage of the hiring process. However, overall those female candidates within this study with lower or higher levels of physical attractiveness seemed to have an equal chance of being invited to later stages of the hiring process. Generally, the qualifications of the candidate appeared to be held in higher regard than the implicit issue of that candidate's appearance. The present study gives light to the need to conduct further, more comprehensive studies to investigate the hiring process with a practical research design. Future research of this nature could test the findings of previous studies to see when the potential for this implicit bias might be greatest and what actions organizations can take to prevent it from happening. As organizations face the war for talent and the changing landscape of this global economy it is essential that hiring managers are aware of the potential for distorted decision-making which may threaten the firm's ability to fairly secure the right employees for the organization.

AdviserJames Mirabella
Source TypeDissertation
SubjectsWomen's studies; Management; Occupational psychology; Cognitive psychology
Publication Number3258762

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