Do appearances affect job opportunities?

Appearances in today’s societies have a fundamental effect on the way people are treated. Back in the old days when people hunted animals for survival, people’s appearances didn’t have a big impact on their position in society, but today it does.

Your appearance can be a key player in so many different parts of your life. There is no doubt that one of the most important parts of your life is your career. With that said, you may wonder, do appearances affect job opportunities?

While there are a few exceptions, appearances do affect people’s job opportunities whether they like it or not. The effect of appearances on job opportunities may vary depending on the type of the job, however the effect of appearances on people’s careers is strong in most cases.

Why does the effect of appearances on a career path vary between one career and another?

As you already know, there are many jobs that require you to look in a certain way. If you do not fit the appearance requirements for such jobs, then you have an almost zero chance of landing the job.

Examples of such jobs can be flight attendants, actors, dancers, hotel rooms attendants, and the list is infinite.

These kinds of jobs explicitly require you to look in a certain way because the business depends on it to survive.

You can’t imagine how many people had their dreams crushed just because they couldn’t fit the appearances requirements to land their dream job.

On the other hand, there are many jobs where appearances do not have an effect on the outcome of the work of the hired person. The only thing required to do the job well is to be skilled enough.

Programming is a perfect example here. A programmer’s appearance does not affect the outcome of their work. Programmers won’t be meeting a lot of people, instead, they’ll be sitting in front of a screen and writing code all day while mostly communicating only with their co-workers.

Does this mean that appearances do not affect their job opportunities? Ideally yes, but realistically no.

Even if you are looking for a job that doesn’t require you to look in a certain way, your appearance might still affect whether you get the job or not. Even if you get the job, appearances might affect your promotion and other things during your career.

While judging people on their appearances in a job interview is not always fair, it happens most of the time unfortunately.

Why do interviewers care about your appearance?

Ever heard about the halo effect? The halo effect is a psychology term that describes a certain human behavior.

The halo effect states that people may judge other people’s personality based on only one unrelated trait they know about them.

For example, if you know one trait about a person, and you think that trait is a positive one, then you will most probably assume that that person is a good person even though you know nothing about them at all.

Now let’s take this to an interview room. The first trait that an interviewer sees in you is your appearance. This means that according to the halo effect, the interviewer will most probably judge your whole personality based on the impression that they get from the way you look.

If you look great to them, they might think that you are a professional candidate and you might have a higher chance at being selected for the job. The opposite can happen if they think that you don’t look great.

So even though your appearance has nothing to do with the outcome of the job itself, you might still be judged based on how you look during a job interview.

Interviewers also want to make sure that the workspace remains healthy and they only want to hire people who like to look as professional as possible in front of their co-workers. 

If you dress very well for an interview, it shows that you want to look professional. However if you just show up to an interview the way you show up to any friends gathering, you might send the wrong message to the interviewer.

Do appearances matter after you land a job?

Yes they do, even if your job does not require that you look in a certain way, your appearance can still affect your career.

Promotions are what employees look forward to whenever they work at any company. To get a promotion, you don’t just have to be good at what you do, you usually also need to be viewed positively among your co-workers too.

The way you show up to your office has a huge impact on the way your co-workers see you. The halo effect comes into practice here again.

If you show up in a professional look, your co-workers might respect you more. Also showing up in a professional look shows that you care and respect your co-workers and your manager.

When most people at work think that you are intelligent and professional, then you are more likely to get promoted faster than if you just show up without caring about your appearance at all.

If appearances affect job opportunities, what should you do?

The best thing to do is to take advantage of the situation. If you have a job interview, try to look as professional as possible, keep a smile on your face, make proper eye contact with the interviewer and make sure that you communicate a good first impression to them.

Once you land the job, maintaining your effort to look professional everyday can help you grow faster inside the company that you work in for the reasons mentioned above.

With that said, instead of worrying about the effect your appearance has on a job opportunity, you should take advantage of the situation and be one step ahead against the other job candidates.

To summarize

Appearance can heavily affect your job opportunities even if the job doesn’t require that you look in a certain way to perform better. With that said, it is always best to make sure that you look in the most professional way possible whenever you apply for any job interview or whenever you visit your job office.