To explore the idea that the career opportunities of attractive women are hindered by their appearance an experiment was conducted to determine the effects of both appearance and sex on the evaluations of applicants for managerial and nonmanagerial positions. As predicted, attractiveness consistently proved to be an advantage for men but was an advantage for women only when seeking a nonmanagerial position. This was found to be the case in ratings of qualifications, recommendations for hiring, suggested starting salary, and rankings of hiring preferences. Additional results indicated that attractiveness exaggerated perceptions of gender-related attributes involving work behaviors. Taken together, these data were interpreted as supporting the idea that the effects of appearance are mediated by fluctuations in the perceived fit between applicant attributes and job requirements. The implications of these findings both for organizations and for women who seek to advance their careers are discussed.
ASJC Scopus subject areas