Women In More Revealing Tops Are More Likely To Get Jobs, Infuriating Study Says
A maddening new study out of Paris has found that women in more revealing tops are more likely to get jobs ... or at least be invited in for an interview. Now, before I go into detail, let me take a minute to say, "SERIOUSLY????" The research, which is being presented at the Appearance Matters Conference in London today, revealed that female applicants for sales and accounting jobs that included a picture on their resume of themselves in a low-cut shirt, rather than a more conservative style, were 19 times more likely to be called in for an interview. This goes against everything my mother taught me about "dressing for success" and "office-appropriate" — not to mention every feminist bone in my body.
Dr. Sevag Kertechian, a researcher working out of the Paris-Sorbonne University, became interested in examining what effect (if any) types of dress had on recruitment success when he couldn't find any significant prior research on the subject. Over three years, Dr. Kertechian applied to job postings using two different women's information. Both women were nearly identical in experience, skills, and physical appearance. In the small black and white photos included on their application, one wore a scoop neck top that dipped slightly below the collar bones, and the other wore a dress with a plunging neckline, revealing a bit of cleavage.
Each woman was submitted for 100 jobs wearing each of the two outfits. Out of 200 applications for jobs in sales, the ones picturing the revealing shirt received 62 more invitations to interview than the regular shirt. For accounting positions, the women wearing the low-cut outfit had as many as 68 more invitations to meet with office personnel. In other words, if you want to snag a job interview in France, you better make a statement in more than just your well-written cover letter.
"Our results showed interesting trends as low-cut dresses significantly influenced the choice of the recruiters, even for accounting positions," Dr. Kertechian summarized in a statement to Phys.org. "Regardless of the job, whether customer-facing saleswoman or office-based accountant, the candidate with the low cut clothing received more positive answers." Dr. Kertechian was not, however, shocked by what he found: "The results were quite shocking and negative but not necessarily surprising – they show we need to conduct more research." (Excuse my low groan of disgust for the entire application process.)
I'd say the results show a lot more than just the need for more research. This outcome points pretty clearly to the fact that, despite what we are told, sexism in the workplace is still alive and well. It is depressing to think that while you may have spent hours perfecting your resume and carefully tailoring your cover letter to each position, the person recruiting may not be as fair and professional as you might think. Your resume should be all about you, but it seems that it may reveal more about those doing the hiring.
Of course, women should also be able to wear whatever makes them feel most confident and comfortable — so despite research, for my next interview I'm wearing a turtleneck that goes all the way over my face.