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Should you ‘ugly up’ for a job interview?

If you’re unemployed or struggling to find work, there is good news and bad news. The bad news: You’re unemployed and struggling to find work. The good news: You're gorgeous! Enjoy your beauty if not the realization of your career dreams.

Two women and a man in a boardroom

Masterfile

If you’re unemployed or struggling to find work, there is good news and bad news. The bad news: You’re unemployed and struggling to find work. The good news: You’re gorgeous! Enjoy your beauty if not the realization of your career dreams. 

Confused? Me too. 

A recent post on the Globe and Mail’s Hot Button blog discussed a recent study in the Economist that found good-looking women are often discriminated against by female human resources managers and recruiters. It seems HR ladies can be a Mean Girl-ish kind of crew, callously tossing out resumes and applications of women who’ve been graced with symmetrical features, small pores and frizz-free tresses. 

To test their theory that beauty is a liability for female job-seekers, two Israeli economists sent out 2,500 fake resumes to real job postings. The resumes were sent in pairs: one resume came with a photo of an attractive female applicant while the other came without a photo. Unfortunately for the photogenic job-seekers, landing that all-important interview wasn’t so easy. In fact, the researchers estimated a goodlooking gal needed to send out 4 more resumes than an average Jane to score a “date” with HR. 

For the researchers, the fact that an overwhelming number of the HR vetters were female — 93 percent — suggests that female jealousy rears its ugly head in employment matters. This theory only gains in strength when they noted that handsome fellas didn’t face the same problems — their good looks got them in the door more often than not. 

Though it’s rare to submit a photo with a job application in Canada (whew!) should a gal looking for a job take the advice to heart and consider frizzing her hair and carb-loading before she goes for that big interview? That depends on whether or not you buy into the idea that women are fiercely competitive creatures when it comes to their own sex or whether or not some research studies come with their own built in biases too.