Ugly Candidates - what is a client to do?

Today it was announced that in China a man successfully sued his wife after she gave birth to a baby the husband considered so ugly he insisted she must have had an affair. When it surfaced that the woman had had a lot of plastic surgery before they met and the new daughter merely inherited her old face, the man not only divorced his wife, but sued her for the equivalent of $120k -- and he won. The judge ruled the man had married the woman under “false pretenses.


If that is the case, how long before clients start taking this approach with candidates who interview under false pretenses.

Lets be honest many people say that the person you see at interview is the best they are ever going to be, which is a fairly pessimistic comment but unfortunately would resonate for many an employer.


Given first impressions are so important – while we are not telling our candidate to have plastic surgery - it is incredible how an average candidate with great coaching on how to look and what to say can make a huge difference to the hiring decision. You could argue that it is a client’s job to peel away the layers until they really get to the heart of the candidate but interviewing is not easy and it is very difficult to put your own personal biases to one side, (and much harder for line managers with little interviewing training who go with their “gut”)


The solution – much more focus on referencing. Ignore the references they give you and focus on other colleagues they worked with, maybe people who worked for them as well as other senior people in the organisation who may not have had a direct line into them. Why? Well you are tapping into their last 5 or 10 years experience as opposed to how they perform at interview. With the prevalence of social media it is so easy to see how people are connected and how you can take more informal references. A word of warning – you do always need to understand where the referee is coming from when they offer their opinion. Also – it takes time and takes diplomacy and trust.


Finally – don’t take the references at the end of the process – if they come back poor you have just wasted your time, more importantly if we want to hire the person we are much more likely to put a positive spin on anything said to us about the person and ignore the message we are meant to hear.

If your talent is that important to you - would you not want to know what others are really saying about your next "superstar"

Views: 1209

Comment by Elise Reynolds on October 31, 2012 at 10:36am

Horrible story about the Chinese wife, does not sound like justice to me!

In my fields of recruiting it is much more technical and most hiring managers would never be able to admit to themselves they made decisions based on looks.  But we know they probably often do that. 

I think people should have plastic surgery if they have some feature they have long considered holding them back. Life is short, so we should address whatever is preventing us the opportunity to live a full live.   Most people are not ugly.  Most ugly people are what is better termed frumpy and frumpy is fixable. 

Comment by Marcia Tiemeyer on October 31, 2012 at 11:22am

This post strikes a cord for me, personal appearance is one of my pet peeves with candidates.  Frumpy is a nice way of saying that people let themselves go and don't take care of personal hygiene.  It really doesn't matter what age, but it seems to be a bit more prevalent in middle to older candidates.  You only have 10 seconds on first meeting to register an impression, be it good or bad.  It takes much longer to change that impression once it is registered.  Anyone going for an interview needs to be able to make the best visual impression they can.  Being frumpy can give the employer the impression that the person is not able to keep up and perhaps not able to adjust to an ever changing environment.  It's one thing to be over weight, which can be a distraction but can be over looked in the interview, but it is quite another issue when it comes to personal hygiene and clothing issues.  You don't need plastic surgery to make sure your hair, beard, mustache, eye brows and nose hair (yes I said nose), are all trimmed and neat.  I wouldn't hurt  for a female candidate to have a good hair trim and color, or at least have hair in an age appropriate style. Please take a look at your eye glasses.  If you haven't replaced the frames in the last 15 years, it's time to update your style.  Take out peircings and try to cover up tatoos.   I'm not asking candidates to go to Brooks Brothers  or Nordstroms to buy an interview outfit, but please make sure your clothes are clean, pressed and fit you properly.  Please don't wear athletic shoes to an interview even if it hurts you to wear a dress shoe.  I could go on and on, but I'm sure you all get the picture.  It just amazes me how many people shoot thenselves in the foot before they even walk in the door. 

Comment by Martin O'Shea on October 31, 2012 at 10:52pm

Ha! Frumpy!....great term, going to be using that. But it is true a lot of recruiters will base some of their decision on looks and I have to agree on a certain level, not to the extent of sueing them because they had plastic surgery. But in the sense that if they walk in to an interview not dressed appropraitely or as Marcia mentioned about hygiene,clothing,hair etc. Is that one of the queries the interviewer will be thinking is, if they cant look after themselves properly how on earth are they going to deliever to our candidates/clients. I have shown up to an interview without my tie and jacket and the first thing I did was to apologies for not being accordingly dressed, and told him that it would of looked too supscious at my office. Althought I didn't get the job he and I  are still in touch for any developments in the future. 


You need to be a member of RecruitingBlogs to add comments!

Join RecruitingBlogs


All the recruiting news you see here, delivered straight to your inbox.

Just enter your e-mail address below


RecruitingBlogs on Twitter

© 2024   All Rights Reserved   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Privacy Policy  |  Terms of Service