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California State University, Long Beach
Psychology
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PSYCHOLOGY MASTER’S THESIS ABSTRACT

Lester Sapitula
Industrial/Organizational
May 1998

 

The Effects of Physical Attractiveness and Interview Structure on Hiring Decisions

 

Whether interview structure mitigates the physical attractiveness bias in hiring decisions was investigated.  It was hypothesized that applicants varying in attractiveness would be rated differently on perceived qualifications or hiring likelihood in the unstructured interview but not in the structured interview.  An experiment simulating the interview process was conducted using 152 undergraduate students who rated applicants on competency, education, articulateness, friendliness, attractiveness, perceived qualifications, and likelihood to hire.  Although the hypotheses were not supported, additional support for the physical attractiveness bias was found.  Highly attractive applicants were seen as more qualified than applicants of moderate and low attractiveness.  Further, applicants in the unstructured interview were seen as more qualified than applicants in the structured interview, suggesting that structured interviews may be more accurate in qualifying applicants.  It is suggested that personnel specialists be careful to disregard job irrelevant characteristics such as physical attractiveness, and move towards using more structured interviews.