NO MORE JUDGING A BOOK BY ITS COVER
There are a lot of things going through your head when you’re interviewing for a new job. You have to remind yourself to act confident, sit up straight, and show up as “the best version of yourself.” Although you walked into that interview with a strong resume and great characteristics, there’s still the possibility that you won’t be receiving a call back. Why?
It’s no secret that women are often looked at differently than males applying for the same position. Times are ever changing, and while it is not as common for someone to be rejected from a job just because they are a female, it can still happen.
The saying “don’t judge a book by its cover” is used to encourage people not to overgeneralize based on someone else’s appearance. However, it sometimes happens subconsciously. How can we change this? How can it be ensured that people are being hired on their qualifications for the job and not just the appearance of being “fit” for the job?
This is known as the psychology of appearance, and it plays a large role in the workplace. It is all based on Gibson’s theory of object perception. This theory states that people’s faces provide adaptive information about the social interactions they attract. The perception of people’s faces, body image, and physique, therefore, overgeneralizes someone into thinking something that may not be true of the person.
A way to remove this generalization would be to take the face-to-face aspect out of the interview process entirely or limit that exposure.
Since the outbreak of COVID-19, the interview process has changed in many workplaces. Virtual interviews are the new norm. Prior to COVID-19, there were few companies that conducted virtual interviews given that they had the ability to bring possible new hires into their workplace. These virtual interviews can be conducted in numerous different ways.
Although a virtual interview is arguably more nerve-wracking than an in-person interview, it changes the way appearance plays into the hiring process at companies. If your interview is a phone call, there is no knowledge of your face or physique to your potential employer. They have no way of knowing if you’re over- or under-weight; black or white; female, male or non-binary; or even if you have a “baby face.” This process will necessitate the interview being based off of what you have to say, and how you present yourself when answering questions.
Video chat interviews are a bit different. Although they also are virtual, they typically do involve showing what you look like. Luckily, technology is your friend when it comes to having virtual manipulation to “clean up your appearance” or even put you in a different room without having to use a physical green screen.
An issue related to psychology of appearance in the hiring process was once seen when it came to orchestras prior to the 1970s. In the 1970s and 1980s, orchestras began using blind auditions as a way to examine the person’s talent as opposed to their physical features which truly do not matter in these circumstances. As a result of these blind auditions, the number of females working in orchestras skyrocketed.
After the COVID-19 pandemic, there will be what people are considering a new normal. Will virtual interviews be a part of this new normal? Will more people’s skills be looked upon higher rather than what they look like?
The future of the workforce is truly unknown as of right now. It’s possible that the new workforce being introduced into society could be seen as a talented bunch. But only time will tell if removing face-to-face interviews will result in a stronger workforce.