Looking for a Job? 7 Biases Choking Your Chances!

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Looking for a job?  Your super-duper resume, your academic pedigree, your pristine video interview, your years of experience and your vast list of gratuitous references count for little against the hiring manager’s bias.

What bias you say?  Have you ever heard the expression, “It’s nothing personal, it’s just good business.”  Yeah that usually happens in a movie right before someone is double crossed or screwed over.  If there is something wrong with you that the hiring manager believes is either not going to make them money or will cost them money, your fancy portfolio accounts for little.

Here are a few reasons why you might not be getting the job.

You are obese! – According to studies conducted by the National Journal for obesity, men were discriminated against twice as often for their weight as for their race, and for women this number was four times as often..  Why are companies doing this?  They believe the health status of their employees either reflects positively or negatively on them.  Google “VictoriaHospital inTexas” for an example!  Additionally organizations understand that obese people cost more to insure and often have higher rates of absenteeism.  In short they are worried about their bottom line.

You stutter! – Sorry Porky Pig but a survey by the National Stuttering Association shows that 40% of stutterers have been denied a job or a promotion.  The reason is basic.  If you stutter the feeling is you just can’t handle jobs as well as non-stutterers.

You are bald! – I will be bald in a few years and if it isn’t all gone by then I might just shave it off.  Discrimination is easing up on this front but most people prefer lustrous hair to barren, misshapen heads.  So sorry about your 4.0 GPA you bald loser!  Sven, the golden maned Nordic model with the 820 SAT score just took your job.

You have red hair! – Honestly I never understood this one but evidently “Gingers” as they are called, are discriminated against especially in theUK.  Does being Ginger somehow affect the company’s bottom line?  I can’t say that it does, so chalk this up to good old fashioned bigotry.  After all when is the last time you heard someone say, “like a ‘blond’ headed step child”?

You talk like a redneck – Ever heard of “linguicism”?  This term, coined in the 1980’s, describes the judgments people make about you based on your language skills.  To put it another way, if you speak with a country bumpkin accent, people may assume you’re either poor, uneducated, or of low social status.  I mean c’mon, does anyone think Larry the Cable Guy is smarter than Anthony Hopkins?  Look who they got to host “Are you smarter than a fifth grader?”  Nuff said. 

You’re ugly/You’re pretty – Yep if you’re ugly you are screwed both socially and often in the workplace because let’s face it, people like to date and buy things from pretty people.  However when attractiveness wasn’t necessary for the job, attractive women were often passed over according to a study by the Journal of Social Psychology.  Additionally, women, especially in HR, often grant fewer interviews to attractive women mainly for reasons of jealousy.  Meow!

You’re short! – A University of Pittsburgh study showed that graduates over 6’2” made an average salary 12% higher than those under six feet. A survey of 140 recruiters showed that three-fourths of them would choose a candidate who was 6’1” over a candidate who was 5’5” even if they were equally qualified.  That’s right, hit the road Napoleon and take your Under Roos and MBA with you!  Sven not only has hair but he’s tall too!

The good news: Most of the job candidates you’re going up against are likely to have one of these attributes which essentially washes out your shortcomings.  The bad news: You might also be old, pregnant, a minority, unemployed, or smoke.  But hey, when you get discouraged think of George Jefferson.  He was short, black and bald, yet he finally got his piece of the pie!

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