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Previous research suggests that physical appearance variables may play a role in employment hiring decisions. This study examined the influence of two physical appearance variables, beardedness and attractiveness, on personnel selection. Fifty undergraduate participants were given the task of evaluating and selecting between nine equally qualified male job applicants applying for a fictitious management trainee position. A photograph was attached to each of the nine applications. Photographs differed systematically on level of beardedness and attractiveness. Results indicated that the level of attractiveness of the photographs significantly affected the evaluation of the application to which it was attached, but did not significantly affect the subjects' final selection decision. Level of beardedness of the photographs was not found to have a significant effect on evaluation of the applications. However, there was a trend in the data that suggested that bearded applicants, although evaluated equally with nonbearded applicants, were selected for management positions at lower rates. Implications and limitations of these results are also examined.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.2224/sbp.2003.31.6.613

Publication date: January 1, 2003

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