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New Research Proves Looks Matter in Getting a Job

It turns out that looks do matter when it comes to getting a job. According to research published in the Journal of Applied Psychology,  people with facial disfigurement, birthmarks or scars are more likely to receive poor ratings in job interviews than people who do not have any noticeable facial marks.

The findings showed that interviewers recalled less information about job candidates with facial blemishes or disfigurements in job interviews. This consequently negatively affected the way these candidates were seen in the evaluations of interviewers.

"When evaluating applicants in an interview setting, it's important to remember what they are saying," said Mikki Hebl, professor of psychology at Rice University and co-author of the study. "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."

According to Hebl and co-author Juan Madera, a professor at the University of Houston, most interaction in speaking and conversations takes place as people focus on the triangle formed by the mouth and eyes. This research was able to show that when people looked away from that facial triangle they forgot details about the conversation.  Their research was confirmed as Hebl and Madera tracked the eye activity of interviewers in job interviews with job candidates who had facial marks or scars. When these interviewers looked outside the facial triangle, they recalled less about what the candidate was saying in the job interview.

"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.”