Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Too fat or too thin? You may not get hired.

Job candidates that are either too fat or too thin may have a more a difficult time getting hired than those in the middle weight ranges according to a study by Swami, et al. reported in the most recent issue of the Journal of Applied Social Psychology.

Weighting in line
The authors found that when men were asked to rate a variety of female pictures for either a management position or for providing help (N=30 and 28, respectively), they were less likely to hire or help women with body mass indices (BMI) over 30 or under 15. Those with a slender body (BMI = 19-20) were most likely to be hired or helped. This shouldn't be surprising, given that studies have consistently linked physical attributes, including weight, with employment decisions, but it's certainly a reminder to watch your biases when evaluating candidates!

In another article, Truxillo et al. found a relationship between cognitive ability and the ability to accurately judge one's performance on an employment test. Using a video-based situational judgment test of customer service skills, the authors found that those with high cognitive ability were able to predict their performance while those with low cognitive ability were not. Practical implications? Providing thorough test feedback may be particularly important for candidates lower in cognitive ability as they may be more likely to be surprised (and dismayed) by the results. This means providing information prior to the test as well as afterward (e.g., how it was developed, how it is scored, how you can improve your performance).

Working IT
In a third study, Johnson, et al. found gender and ethnic group differences in how IT careers are perceived as well as in self-efficacy related to IT. Using data from 159 African- and 98 Anglo-Americans, the authors found that African American men reported higher levels of IT self-efficacy than all other groups, whereas Anglo women reported the lowest levels. In addition, Anglos had more negative stereotypes of IT professionals than did African Americans. This study had a small sample size, but the implication is that how people see their own ability related to an occupation, as well as how they perceive those in it, influences their career choices. This will in turn impact your applicant demographics as well as your recruiting success.

The rest
There are some other interesting reads in here, including:

When emotional displays of leaders may increase follower performance

How to give performance feedback

Self-perceptions of ethical behavior


Feza said...

i dont think its a huge problem face by any organization but the problem is if any organization has no branch then attraction of employees from other cities is a big problem wat do u think

BryanB said...

I think that unless in the very unlikely case that body weight can be shown to be a business necessity that organizations are going to find their talent pool dries up rather quickly if they focus on the issue.