Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Study Finds People with Facial Scars Less Likely to be Hired

When a person walks into a California employment lawyer's office alleging looks- based employment discrimination, we know better than to brush those claims aside. Looks-based discrimination is widely prevalent in the workplace, and there are enough studies to show that persons with a pleasant appearance and symmetrical features have a greater chance of being hired compared to others. A new study confirms this fact. According to the study, people who have facial scars, birthmarks or acne scars, could stand a lower chance of acing a job interview.

The study conducted by researchers at Rice University and the University of Houston staged mock interviews, consisting of subjects with or without facial scars or acne. A total of 171 undergraduates participated in the mock interview. The interviews were conducted via computer screen. The interviewers’ eye movements were tracked during the interview. After the interview, the interviewers were asked questions about the candidate.

The researchers found that the interviewers were not blatantly discriminatory against persons with acne or birthmarks. However, they did tend to get distracted by applicants who suffered from acne and other facial scars. As a result of this distraction, they were less likely to focus on the positive aspects of the applicant's candidacy, and therefore the applicant was less likely to get the job.

When the researchers conducted another study using people who had experience in management and training instead of undergrad students, they found the same results. In this experiment, many of the interviewees suffered from acne or birthmarks. The researchers expected that these more experienced interviewers would be less likely to be distracted by the facial scars. However, they found that the trained persons were actually more likely to be distracted by facial scars, than the undergrad students.

This kind of looks-based discrimination seems to be subconscious, but the end result is the same.

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