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Recruiting job applicants is an exercise that ought to be done carefully. The manner in which companies recruit their employees differ from one company to another. While some companies prefer recruitment agencies, others use advertisements in the media and social sites.
Other companies hang a list of the available vacancies on the job boards. Various studies have been done to identify how aspects like facial expression, competency, and gender among others do influence the selection of employees (Doyle, 2011, pp. 1-5).
Summary of the article
From the different researches that have been conducted, it has been established that physical appearance plays a great role in making decisions related to hiring. However, this is not the only aspect that recruiters consider. Some other aspects can be used while making recruitment decisions. In most cases, these aspects relate to common stereotypes related to gender and appearance of individuals.
Desrumaux, Bosscher and Léoni (2009) did a correlational study on how facial expression, gender and the competence of applicants affected recruitment. The study sought to find how these factors influenced the decision on the suitability of job applicants. This is a correlational study because it considers how the variables relate to each other and the impression they create to the person recruiting by use of a correlational matrix.
In their study, the authors looked into the relationship between the variables of gender, attractiveness and competence and their influence in cases that involved the applicant’s hireability, utility and desirability. The issue of attractiveness was considered because of the manner in which it is perceived in the society.
The perception attaches efficiency, competency and sociable features to them. The study noted that attractiveness varied depending on the gender of an applicant and the job applied. Whether a job is male-typed or female-typed, attractiveness increased the chances of one getting it.
In most studies, issues like job sex-typing, managerial and non-managerial levels are not simultaneously manipulated. Other studies have also shown a lack of clarity between job status and sex type. The methodology employed in this study seals this gap by independently looking at job status and sex type. It also considered validated variables, unlike other previous studies.
The study also includes new scales of measure other than suitability and hireability to include utility and desirability. This led to the development of the guiding assumption. The assumption is that a recruiter should be attentive to attractiveness when considering female jobs than male jobs to judge hireability, utility and desirability. Another guiding presumption was that competence was more disadvantageous to female jobs than male jobs.
To consider these issues, forty random participants from two different towns were selected and divided into two groups. They both had an average experience of three years in recruitment issues. One group made its opinions in regard to male sex-typed managerial jobs and female sex-typed while the other group made opinions on the same with regard to non-managerial jobs (Desrumaux, Bosscher and Léoni 2009, pp. 33-34).
The study found that there is a great influence of an applicant’s attractiveness. It showed that applicants with attractive applicants were highly rated and that less competent applicants judged more competent applicants favourably. Good ratings were observed for male sex-typed jobs than female sex-typed jobs. Ratings were also higher for non-managerial jobs than for managerial positions (Desrumaux, Bosscher and Léoni 2009, p. 37).
Although the study was quite successful, there were many challenges encountered. It can be seen that the sample used for the study was quite small. This means that the results of the study cannot be inferred to the general population. Therefore, further study that will use a relatively large sample for reliable results should be conducted. In addition, the jobs that were used in the study were sales jobs.
In this case, it is necessary for studies to be conducted on other job categories. Despite the challenges, there are positive elements that can be drawn from this study. It can be noted that the study used experienced recruiters. Although it was not easy getting such participants, the effort made was plausible (Desrumaux, Bosscher and Léoni 2009, p. 41).
Critique of the article
The reliability and validity of this study ought to be considered carefully. A study can be based on drawing a given conclusion that reflects the true reality on the ground is deemed to be reliable. On the other hand, a study is deemed to be valid if it can be tested against already existing parameters. In the instant scenario, the study is reliable because it reveals an in-depth analysis of the mind of a recruiter.
It analyses how the recruiter is influenced by the attractiveness besides other outstanding requirements like competence and value. This is realized by the sample of forty persons who work in recruitment agencies with at least three years experience.
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The study can be held to be valid. In this case, the researcher has analysed earlier findings and closed the gaps created in the methodology used. This aspect is achieved by employment the use of independent analysis of job status and sex job type. It further incorporates the use of new measures of utility and desirability, unlike the case in previous studies. These guards against bringing into question the validity of the study.
The authors’ objective was to get an understanding of how attractiveness and competence did affect hireability, desirability and utility in various jobs. In finding a guide by the five formulated hypotheses, they concluded that it is a fact that attractiveness bias did exist in job recruitment. The only difference was that it was manifested differently.
This depended on whether the job in question was a managerial or non-managerial one. It also depended on whether it was male sex-typed or female-sex typed. However, they ought to have noted that the definition of attractiveness differs depending on an individual’s background.
Thus, attractiveness should be defined in relation to the diversity of people’s backgrounds in mind. In this case, what may be termed as attractive in one setting may not necessarily be labelled as such in another setting. To a large extent though, the authors have correctly interpreted the findings.
The authors referred to already done studies, which formed the basis of their study and impelled them to find more information about attractiveness and its influence in job recruitment. Acknowledgement was given through the sources cited with criticism where necessary. A list of reference was given at the end of the study. This is a proper ethical conduct that is highly valued.
Though I have held the findings of the research reliable and valid, there is room for further research on the effect of attractiveness in recruitment. For instance, in this study, the author’s choice of samples was more biased to the recruiter’s reaction to the attractiveness of an applicant and no insight was given to the applicant’s thought over the issue of attractiveness.
I am convicted that even the applicant has a given way he or she thinks about attractiveness. For example, the authors would have included participants who had undergone a recruitment process especially an interview and either succeeded or failed. Such participants should have been asked whether their failure or success was influenced by attractiveness.
This is important because some job applicants may be considering competence as a major factor at the expense of attractiveness. A study developed along this line will give insight regarding the influence of attractiveness in job recruitment. By not considering this aspect, I find the authors’ conclusion relatively weak. Had this aspect been explored by the authors, holding their findings to be strong would have been easy.
Some other inferences can be drawn from this study. For instance, it is easy to conclude that non-managerial positions are lowly looked at, following the author’s finding on the same regarding ratings. The ratings for non-managerial jobs were higher than those of managerial jobs. This will partly be as a result of the perception that it is hard to meet the appraisal criteria for managerial positions.
Similarly, the study can promote the tendency of considering the attractiveness in job recruitment than competence. This will see many companies employ attractive people who do not necessarily meet the competence standards required by the company.
In addition, another perception may crop up projecting attractiveness as a necessity for job applicants. In turn, this will motivate job applicants to be attractive and design job recruitment criteria that combine attractiveness and competence.
The authors decided to choose a sample that is not all inclusive. This can be easily be held to be worse in analyzing the issue of attractiveness by job applicants. This is the case because attractiveness affects both the recruiter and the job applicant in different ways. For the recruiter, attractiveness influences him or her to either select that applicant or drop him or her.
On the other hand, attractiveness can make the applicant be considered for a job, or it can make that applicant lose the position. Thus, it makes it paramount that a sample that is reflective of these two categories is chosen in doing a study like this one. On the contrary, the authors in this study took a sample from only one category; that of recruiters with an average of three years experience. Thus, one develops some caution when relying on such a study.
In job recruitment, attractiveness greatly does influence the decision of recruiters. Its effect is varied depending on gender, competence, job sex-type, hierarchical status and hireability. The correlation study criticized above shows the varied outcomes reached at depending on the applicant’s attractiveness.
Unlike most studies already carried out which have some gaps, this study considered hierarchical status and job sex-type for both managerial and non-managerial positions. I found out that favorable ratings were given for male sex-typed jobs than female sex-typed positions. Another finding was that high ratings were given for non-managerial jobs as compared to managerial jobs.
The study as well concluded that attractiveness and competence were advantageous to male sex-typed jobs as compared to female sex-typed positions. Thus, the attractiveness concept cannot be overlooked when making hiring decisions or any recruitment for that matter.
Desrumaux, P., Bosscher, S. and Léoni, V. (2009). Effects of Facial Attractiveness, Gender, and Competence of Applicants on Job Recruitment Swiss Journal of Psychology, 68(1): 33–42.
Doyle, A. (2011). Alison Doyle’s Job Search Guidebook. S.I: Doyle & Doyle Communications, Inc.