Being good-looking certainly has its benefits — and that includes being more likely to get hired for a job.
Several studies show that attractive people tend to land more job interviews, are more likely to be hired (a 2010 Newsweeksurvey of 202 corporate hiring managers found that nearly 60 percent believed that an unattractive but qualified job candidate would have a tougher time getting hired), and are often more successful.
But a new study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology shows that being easy on the eyes doesn’t mean it’s easy to get any job you want.
In the study, which involved more than 750 participants and included university students and managers who made real hiring decisions, participants were shown profiles of two potential job candidates. The profiles included photos of the candidates — one attractive and one unattractive (according to EurekAlert, “The photos were vetted by previous research to test attractiveness”). The participants were then asked questions to determine their assessment of the job candidates, as well as whether they would hire the candidates for a “less desirable” job, such as a warehouse worker, housekeeper, or customer service representative, or a “more desirable” job, such as a manager, project director, or IT intern.
RELATED: Cities with the most job openings:
12 cities with the most job openings
12 cities with the most job openings
12. Jobs in Phoenix
Job openings: 13,409
Current growth in Phoenix is slower than it was during past booms, but the economy is still creating jobs. The Phoenix metro area is chock-full of small businesses — 96 percent of the region's 126,000 businesses have 50 or fewer employees.
The leisure and hospitality sector is booming, with growth of 7.1 percent from July 2016 to July 2017, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The next fastest-growing sector was construction, with 3.5 percent growth over the same time frame.
11. Jobs in Denver
Job openings: 13,958
The chief economist for the Metro Denver Economic Development Corporation, Patty Silverstein, forecasts strong job growth continuing for Denver after a "stellar" 2016. The Denver job growth forecast is 2.4 percent in 2017, with four sectors posting strong employment growth:
Leisure and hospitality
Education and health services
Natural resources and construction
Strong economic activity and net migration are expected to push home prices higher, which could have positive, ancillary benefits on the economy.
10. Jobs in Boston
Job openings: 14,631
Boston is a college town, home to prestigious institutions likes Harvard University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Boston College. In fact, as of 2016, the city had the largest concentration of top-tier research universities in the country.
Boston also has a number of the country's best hospitals, including Massachusetts General. Thus, it is no surprise that the highest level of employment in the city is in education and health services.
9. Jobs in Dallas
Job openings: 15,057
Dallas is a bright spot in the Texas economy. Economic growth over the next five years is expected to reach 4.2 percent per year, according to the city's economic forecast.
Dallas is a key driver of economic growth in the state, according to the Dallas Chamber of Commerce. The city is blessed with a diverse economy and its business concentrations are in logistics, technology and corporate headquarters.
8. Jobs in San Francisco
Job openings: 15,972
San Francisco is the fourth most-populated state in California and it runs neck-and-neck with Los Angeles when it comes to having the most job openings.
With a well-known concentration of financial services companies, including Wells Fargo and Charles Schwab, it should be no surprise that the professional and business services industry is No. 1 when it comes to employment in San Francisco.
7. Jobs in Los Angeles
Job openings: 17,061
Los Angeles is the capital of the world for show business — and it's the largest city in the state. As a result, the city's economy is naturally large and diversified.
Away from the glitz and glamour of Hollywood, Los Angeles is also the home to the nation's No. 1 container port, which makes trade its top industry.
Education and health services come in a close second.
6. Jobs in Seattle
Job openings: 17,576
Seattle's economy is well-rounded, which results in many job opportunities. Seattle offers employment in a variety of industries, ranging from trade to transportation and utilities to professional and business services to government to education and health services, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Seattle's economic development plan focuses on "business cluster development," or the effort to align companies in a geographic area that work in the same industry. The city believes that this type of coordinated, economic development activity is the key to Seattle's economic growth.
5. Jobs in Washington, D.C.
Job openings: 18,541
As befitting the nation's capital, government jobs in DC make up the largest employment sector. The city also offers high levels of employment in the fields of professional and business services and education and health services.
The city has several organizations and agencies that focus on potential economic development opportunities, and it has initiatives designed to develop small business owners.
4. Jobs in Houston
Job openings: 19,564
Although Houston's economic situation might change in the aftermath of 2017's Hurricane Harvey, it stands at No. 4 on this list of cities with the most job openings. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the industries with the most workers in Houston are:
Transportation and utilities
Professional and business services
Leisure and hospitality
The city's economic development plan identifies the energy, manufacturing and medical sectors with the most robust growth.
3. Jobs in Atlanta
Job openings: 20,712
Atlanta's two main industries — in terms of the percentage of the population that is employed in those fields — are sales, administrative support, management, business and finance. The city, however, also employs those in the science, education, library, engineering and computer sectors at a rate above the national average.
The city's most recent Comprehensive Development Plan was adopted on Nov. 21, 2016, to further economic growth in the city. Invest Atlanta, the city's development authority, is focused on growing residential and commercial economic vitality in the city.
2. Jobs in Chicago
Job openings: 25,104
Chicago, has the second-highest number of job openings on the list. Chicago's economy is guided by an economic development plan entitled, "A Plan for Economic Growth and Jobs," created by World Business Chicago and the city's mayor, Rahm Emanuel.
Chicago's diverse economy has 13 key industries:
Plastics and chemicals
1. Jobs in New York
Job openings: 37,428
New York City boasts a growing, diverse economy that has many growing industries, hence its No. 1 position in this list of cities with job openings.
New York's core businesses include technology, fashion, food manufacturing, food retail, healthcare, industrial and manufacturing, life sciences and urban innovation and sustainability.
New York is particularly booming when it comes to the startup sector, which accounts for more than 291,000 jobs and more than $124 billion in economic output.
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Turns out the study participants were much less likely to hire the good-looking job applicants for so-called less desirable jobs and more likely to hire the attractive candidate for the theoretically more coveted jobs.
“Our research suggests that attractive people may be discriminated against in selection for relatively less desirable jobs,” lead author of the study Margaret Lee, a doctoral candidate at the London Business School, told EurekAlert. “This stands in contrast to a large body of research that concluded that attractiveness, by and large, helps candidates in the selection process.”
That’s because study participants made certain assumptions about attractive individuals — namely, that the good-looking person wouldn’t want the “less desirable” job.
“We found that participants perceived attractive individuals to feel more entitled to good outcomes than unattractive individuals, and that attractive individuals were predicted to be less satisfied with an undesirable job than an unattractive person,” Lee said. “In the selection decision for an undesirable job, decision makers were more likely to choose the unattractive individual over the attractive individual. We found this effect to occur even with hiring managers.”
RELATED: What successful executives ask in every job interview:
What 21 successful executives ask in every job interview
What 21 successful executives ask in every job interview
Billionaire Virgin Group founder Richard Branson explains in his book "The Virgin Way: Everything I Know About Leadership," that he isn't a fan of the traditional job interview, reports Business Insider's Richard Feloni.
"Obviously a good CV is important, but if you were going to hire by what they say about themselves on paper, you wouldn't need to waste time on an interview," Branson writes. That's why he likes to ask: What didn't you get a chance to include on your résumé?
One of Zappos' core values is to "create fun and a little weirdness," Tony Hsieh, CEO of the company, told Business Insider in 2010.
To make sure he hires candidates with the right fit, Hsieh typically asks the question: "On a scale of one to 10, how weird are you?" He says the number isn't too important, but it's more about how people answer the question. Nonetheless, if "you're a one, you probably are a little bit too straight-laced for the Zappos culture," he said. "If you're a 10, you might be too psychotic for us."
The best candidates are the ones who know exactly who they are. That's why Dara Richardson-Heron, CEO of women's organization YWCA, always asks her candidates this question.
Richardson-Heron has said she doesn't judge people on the word they choose, but it does give her insight into how people package themselves. She tells Adam Bryant at The New York Times that she likes when people take time to ponder the question and answer thoughtfully.
Laszlo Bock, Google's HR boss, says the company ditched its famous brainteaser interview questions in recent years for behavioral ones.
"The interesting thing about the behavioral interview is that when you ask somebody to speak to their own experience, and you drill into that, you get two kinds of information," Bock told The New York Times. "One is you get to see how they actually interacted in a real-world situation, and the valuable 'meta' information you get about the candidate is a sense of what they consider to be difficult."
Hannah Paramore, president of Paramore, a Nashville-based interactive advertising agency, told the New York Times' Adam Bryant that this is one of her favorite questions.
"I'm looking for how deeply instilled their work ethic and independence are versus entitlement," she told Business Insider. "If they worked part time in high school and college because they needed to, especially in jobs that were just hard work, that shows a huge level of personal responsibility. I love people who have to patch success together from a number of different angles."
Last year writer Jeff Haden asked a bunch of smart people from a variety of fields for their favorite interview question. HootSuite CEO Ryan Holmes says his is: "What's your superpower … or spirit animal?"
"During her interview, I asked my current executive assistant what was her favorite animal. She told me it was a duck, because ducks are calm on the surface and hustling like crazy getting things done under the surface," he told Haden. "I think this was an amazing response and a perfect description for the role of an EA. For the record, she's been working with us for over a year now and is amazing at her job."
Karen Davis, senior vice president of Global Philanthropy and Social Impact at Hasbro, the toy and game giant, told Business Insider that because her work is focused on giving back — a big part of her job is deciding which organizations and projects Hasbro will help fund — she looks for candidates with "a true sense of passion and purpose." And the quote question, she told Business Insider's Rachel Sugar, helps her figure out who applicants really are and what they truly care about.
While there's no "right answer," Davis said she wants candidates who have an answer. "I want to see that somebody has been looking for sources of inspiration."
Lonne Jaffe, chief executive of software company Syncsort, said in a New York Times interview with Adam Bryant that he always wants to see how well a job candidate can tell a story.
He told Business Insider that as long as we've had language, storytelling has been a powerful communication tool. "In business, creating a compelling narrative is invaluable for motivating a team, explaining strategic priorities in a way that's easy for others to understand, or communicating complex ideas to customers and prospects. Successful senior-level leaders are good storytellers, and it's also a very useful skill early on in your career."
Jaffe said he recognized the importance of storytelling early in his career while working at IBM. "Storytelling is especially important in the tech industry because technology can be "very complex, and sometimes people find technical details to be somewhat boring."
A good answer to this question is important because it means that the candidate isn't afraid of taking risks and will admit when things don't work out, said Jenny Ming, president and CEO of clothing store Charlotte Russe and former chief executive of Old Navy, in a New York Times interview.
"It doesn't even have to be business; it could be life lessons. I think it's pretty telling. What did they do afterward?" she told Adam Bryant of the Times. "How did they overcome that? I always look for somebody who's very comfortable admitting when something didn't work out."
People always like to tell you about their successes, she explains, but they don't always want to tell you what didn't work out so well for them.
This seems like a ridiculous question to ask, but it's posed to every prospective employee at Capriotti's Sandwich Shop, a national restaurant franchise. Ashley Morris, the company's CEO, says it's the best way to learn how candidates react under pressure.
"There really is no right answer, so it's interesting to get someone's opinion and understand how they think on their feet," Morris explained. "The hope is that for us, we're going to find out who this person is on the inside and what's really important to him, what his morals really are, and if he'll fit on the cultural level."
LearnVest CEO Alexa von Tobel told Adam Bryant at The New York Times that the way a candidate responds to this question reveals their thought process, which "tells you a lot about someone."
She said she also likes to ask about weaknesses, but if the candidate doesn't give a real, honest answer, she'll rephrase the question: "What are you genuinely bad at? What does your spouse or partner or the person you're dating tell you you're bad at? Because if they haven't told you, then you shouldn't be sitting here because I can't work with you if you don't know what you're bad at."
In a New York Times interview with Adam Bryant, Brad Jefferson, CEO of Animoto, a video slide show service, shared his three favorite interview questions.
He especially loves this one about what motivates people because it helps him understand a candidate's passions and what makes them tick. "I really try to get in their head about what's going to keep them going."
Jefferson told Business Insider that it's important to understand what motivates a person at their core because "there will always be ups and downs in any business, and you want to make sure the person will be equally motivated during difficult times, if not more so."
He said if you "pursue something that you're passionate about with people who motivate you, then work is really fun, even during the difficult times."
Jeff Zwelling, CEO and cofounder of Convertro, a provider of marketing and advertising measurement services, told Business Insider that he often turns to tricky questions during job interviews to get a better sense of who the candidate is.
For example, in the middle of the conversation, he often throws in this curveball math question.
"Some candidates will instantly blurt out 10 cents, which is obviously wrong," he said. "They don't have to get the exact right answer, which is a nickel, but I want to see them at least have a thought process behind it."
Zwelling said he understands that math isn't everyone's forte, but he wants them to realize that "10 cents is too easy of an answer, and that if it was that easy, I wouldn't be asking it."
Kat Cole, president of Cinnabon, told Adam Bryant in a New York Times interview that before asking questions, she likes to see how job candidates interact with people in the waiting area.
"I'll ask people to offer the candidate a drink to see if there's a general gratefulness there, and they'll send me notes," she said. "Then, when someone walks into my office, I'll have a big wad of paper on my floor between the door and the table. I want to see if the person picks it up. I don't make huge judgments around it, but it does give me a sense of how detail-oriented they are."
After some conversation, she finally says: "Tell me about the closest person in your life who you're comfortable talking about. What would they say if I asked them, 'What is the one characteristic that they totally dig about you?'"
Then she'll say: "What is the one characteristic that drives them insane, and that they would love for you to do just a little bit less?"
"People are pretty comfortable talking about that because I've pinpointed a person and a point of view," she told the Times.
ThoughtSpot CEO Ajeet Singh told Business Insider that this question gives him a lot of information about job candidates — "and he may be the only tech exec in Silicon Valley who's asking it," writes Rachel Sugar.
Singh said it's an incredibly useful question, and not nearly as odd as it sounds.
"This question gets at the essence of what drives a person and what they like to do, what inspires them, what motivates them" he explained."I want to see if I can get some unconventional insight into what people are like when the job search constraints are removed."
Michelle Peluso, CEO of Gilt Groupe, told Adam Bryant of the New York Times that this question is far more telling than, "What are you good at?" which is a question she despises.
Here's what she tells each candidate: "OK, I've interviewed an eclectic crowd about you: the guy who delivers your food, the last people you worked with, the person who can't stand you the most, your best friend from high school, your mother's neighbor, your kindergarten teacher, your high school math teacher who loved you, and your last boss." Then she asks: "If I were to say to them, 'Give me three adjectives that best describe you,' what would I hear?"
Peluso said if the candidate gives her three glowing adjectives, she'll remind them that the hypothetical group includes a few people who aren't particularly fond of them.
Jess Levin, the founder and chief executive of Carats & Cake, an online wedding resource that features curated content and information about vendors, told Business Insider she asks this because she looks for people "who get what it means to do big things without a lot of hands."
"There is no one-size-fits-all answer," she added — but she always looks for an example that "communicates independent drive, proactive problem solving, and humility."
Wayne Jackson, chief executive of the software security firm Sonatype, told The New York Times' Adam Bryant that in asking this question, he can learn about what people do outside of work — what drives them, what they think about, what's important — to determine whether they have "the competitiveness and the drive to get through tough problems and tough times."
Another reason he loves this question: It helps him figure out if the candidate's values and mindset are in line with his. "I tend to drift toward things where the stakes are relatively high, the dynamics are really complex, and teamwork matters," he told Bryant. And it's important that his employees do the same.
Lori Senecal, CEO of the MDC Partner Network and global CEO of advertising agency CP+B, told Adam Bryant of the New York Times that there are three things she looks for in every job candidate, and she asks a certain set of questions to find out if they possess those traits.
First, she says, she looks for the "inventor mind-set." "I'll say, 'What have you invented?'" Senecal told Bryant. "That doesn't mean you have to have created a robot that can get a beer from a fridge. It could be anything. It's to see whether they have the mindset of creating something. That shows a desire to find fresh solutions."
Next she wants to know whether they have the ability or desire to collaborate. To figure out if they've got it, she says: "Talk to me about one of your greatest achievements."
And lastly, she wants to detect passion and commitment. For that, she says: "Tell me about a time when you really had to stick your neck out for the greater good of the mission."
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Lee said she was surprised by the study results, since the assumption was that an attractive person would have a leg up on any job that he or she applied for.
But this isn’t the only study to find that being attractive can backfire when it comes to your career — particularly for women. A 2010 study published in the Journal of Social Psychology found that attractive women — but not men — were discriminated against when they applied for positions that are typically considered “masculine” and where appearance is not viewed as important to the job. The jobs included manager of research and development, director of finance, and mechanical engineer.
“In these professions, being attractive was highly detrimental to women,” the lead author of the study, Stefanie K. Johnson, an associate professor of management at the University of Colorado Boulder’s Leeds School of Business, told ScienceDaily. “In every other kind of job, attractive women were preferred. This wasn’t the case with men, which shows that there is still a double standard when it comes to gender.”