Looks more important than a good resume

Face key to scoring jobs

By Miawling Lam and Brittany Stack

Photogenic marketing assistant Susie Warwick has never been rejected for a job.

The 20-year-old has been working for six years and believes workplaces employ staff based as much on their appearance and demeanour as their experience and CV.

"All companies want to hire someone who is going to present themselves well and someone who dresses neatly," she said.

"It’s all about personality, too. It just depends what kind of business you’re in. Some businesses are a lot more superficial than others."

A University of Sydney study of nearly 200 fashion and jewellery retailers has revealed "lookism" is rife in the rag trade, where physical appearance is more important than previous experience.

But experts warn the retail industry isn’t the only culprit, with hospitality, tourism and telecommunication markets equally as guilty.

Nearly all clothing retailers surveyed said they hired new employees based on "personality" while 84 per cent said they relied on those who had the "right appearance".

Caleb of Perth In comparison, only 44 per cent took into account a prospective employee’s qualifications and less than 80 per cent someone’s "previous experience".

Survey co-author and senior lecturer in work and organisational studies at the University of Sydney Diane van den Broek said the findings suggest employers pay little attention to CVs.

"Beauty is big business – both for those achieving it and those exploiting it," she said.

"As such, we are all implicated in this phenomenon."

Dr van den Broek said it was extremely difficult to gauge how often retailers asked for photographs with job applications.

However, it was becoming increasingly prevalent in the bar and hospitality industry, she said.

Talent2 director John Banks said physical appearance was still a large part of the hiring process. In some cases, it was the determining factor 90 per cent of the time.

"People like people who look good and first impressions count," he said.

"(In jobs) where there is a lot of exposure to the public, appearance is still an important factor."

The Sunday Telegraph


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