It’s a known fact that we judge people by their appearance. Picture this.
An immaculately dressed man, clean-shaven with shiny shoes, walks into his interview. Thirty minutes later, a man about the same age walks in, but he’s dressed in jeans with red sneakers. The man who took the time and effort to prepare himself for the interview has the advantage over the second man.
You’ve probably heard the phrase, “Looks don’t matter,” and “It’s the inside that counts.”
While these statements are true, in reality, looks do matter. It’s no secret that we live in a society that is consumed by image. The quest for beauty may be a centuries-old obsession, but today the reality is just as ugly. Appearance plays a huge role in your life. The “halo effect” is the concept that attractive people are viewed as smarter, funnier, and more likable than less attractive people.
Tall people get paid more: A study at the University of Florida found that for every inch of height, a tall worker can expect to earn an extra $789 per year. That means two equally skilled coworkers would have a pay differential of nearly $5,000 per year, simply because of a 6-inch difference in height.
Blondes get paid more: A study conducted on 13,000 Caucasian women found blondes earn seven percent more than female employees with any other hair color. The pay bump is equivalent to the boost an employee would see from an additional year of education.
Workers who workout get paid more: According to a study in the Journal of Labor Research, workers who exercise regularly earn nine percent more than those who don’t work out. The study claimed people who exercise three or more times a week earn an average of $80 a week more than their coworkers.
Women who wear makeup make more: Not only do people judge beauty based on how much makeup a woman is wearing, makeup adorned women also rank higher in competence and trustworthiness. A study in the American Economic Review said women who wear makeup could earn more than 30 percent more in pay than those who chose not to wear makeup.
We’re judged every single day by our appearances. It’s a cold, hard fact that we have to learn to accept. But, we can use this fact to our advantage in the business world. Learn to leverage this resource to be successful.
There is an apocryphal story about how Henry Ford liked to interview over lunch. He supposedly would never hire anyone who seasoned their food before tasting it — he felt they would make rash decisions if they “assumed” the food needed additional salt or pepper without a taste.
You never get a second chance to create a first impression. In a given situation, when you meet someone for the first time, they make judgments in about 3 to 7 seconds. Your clothing makes up 90% of the first impression. Your appearance is essential. As uncomfortable as it may be, we are under the microscope every day. Our employees, our colleagues, and our customers judge us by how we look, how we dress, our table manners, our grooming, and sometimes even how we do our job.