In 2013 an Italian university conducted a study called Searching for a Job is a Beauty Contest. The study sent out 11,000 identical resumes with a range of pictures attached. The results were startling 50% of attractive Italians and only 17% of unattractive Italians were called back. Resumes sent without a picture had a 39% call back rate. This is great news for those blessed by the heavens but disappointing for those whacked with the ugly stick.
The question that I would like to ask is: whether or not this will still occur in five years time? I don’t pose this question because I believe that plastic surgery will escape the Hollywood hills and become accessible to the masses, rather I believe that screening methods will take the free choice out the equation. This is clear when we take a look at how our big corporations recruit. Resume mining, aptitude testing and video interviewing filter the applicants down to three carbon copies of the same person, a coin is tossed and the hire is made. I may be exaggerating, but the process is sound, effective, and minimises discrimination.
Ah, but what about the video interviewing? Surely this leaves us open to seduction by those good-looking gods. The answer is yes... and no. It is true that the same forces that influenced the decision making with the photo attached to the resume are in play. But you can’t argue with the candidates responses: knowledge and personality are put into the equation with a video interview that are not prevalent in a photograph. Good video interview software will allow for candidate comparison and make the process a lot more scientific.
But what about small businesses? The majority of them don’t have access to these screening tools and combined they are the largest employers. We can now come back to our initial question: will the gorgeous still win out over the gory in five years time? Maybe not. Recruitment software is becoming more accessible to small businesses due to increased competition creating more manageable costs and they are becoming more user friendly. myInterview, for example, was established as a video interview tool for small businesses and is seeing steady growth from this market.
So there is hope for all of us paper bag hat wearers :)