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Hire More Beautiful People!

Jan 18

What do you think of, in regards to smarts, when I say: “Sexy Blond model type”?

What about: “Strong Athletic Jock?”

What about: “Scrawny nerdy band geek?”

My guess is most people would answer: Dumb, Dumb, Smart – or something to that context.

In HR we call this profiling – and make no mistake – profiling – is done by almost all of our hiring managers.  The problem is everything we might have thought is probably wrong in regards to our expectations of looks and brains.  So, why are ugly people more smart?

They’re Not!

Slate recently published an article that contradicts all of our ugly people are more smart myths and actually shows evidence to the contrary. From the article:

 Now there were two findings: First, scientists knew that it was possible to gauge someone’s intelligence just by sizing him up; second, they knew that people tend to assume that beauty and brains go together. So they asked the next question: Could it be that good-looking people really are more intelligent?

Here the data were less clear, but several reviews of the literature have concluded that there is indeed a small, positive relationship between beauty and brains. Most recently, the evolutionary psychologist Satoshi Kanazawa pulled huge datasets from two sources—the National Child Development Study in the United Kingdom (including 17,000 people born in 1958), and the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health in the United States (including 21,000 people born around 1980)—both of which included ratings of physical attractiveness and scores on standard intelligence tests. When Kanazawa analyzed the numbers, he found the two were related: In the U.K., for example, attractive children have an additional 12.4 points of IQ, on average. The relationship held even when he controlled for family background, race, and body size.

 

That’s right HR Pros – Pretty people are smarter.  I can hear hiring managers and creepy executives that only want “cute” secretaries laughing all over the world!

 

The premise is solid though!  If you go back in our history and culture you see how this type of things evolves:

1. Very smart guy – gets great job or starts great company – makes a ton of money

2. Because of success, Smart guy now has many choices of very pretty females to pursue as a bride.

3. Smart guy and Pretty bride start a family – which results in “Pretty” Smart Children

4. Pretty Smart Children grow up with all the opportunities that come to smart beautiful families.

5. The cycle repeats.

 

Now – first – this is a historical thing – thus my example of using a male as our “Smart guy” and not “Smart girl” – I’m sure in today’s world this premise has evolved yet again. But we are talking about how we got to this point, not where are we now.  Additionally, we are looking at how your organization can hire better.  So, how do you hire better?  Hire more pretty people.

 

Seems simple enough. Heck, that is even a hiring process that your hiring managers would support!

10 Comment to “Hire More Beautiful People!”

  1. Interesting post Tim. The only piece missing from Kanazawa’s research – is there a positive correlation between being “pretty and intelligent” and business performance? Being smarter doesn’t mean you’re going to be better at your job than the next guy who works harder than you. The business doesn’t (well, shouldn’t) care about looks or raw intelligence, it should care only about performance.

    Hiring managers should look at who will perform best in the role rather than who is smart and attractive. Suggesting otherwise is a giant step backwards for the business and the basis for gut-driven decision making.

    Jan 21, 2012
  2. Interesting post Tim. The only piece missing from Kanazawa’s research – is there a positive correlation between being “pretty and intelligent” and business performance? Being smarter doesn’t mean you’re going to be better at your job than the next guy who works harder than you. The business doesn’t (well, shouldn’t) care about looks or raw intelligence, it should care only about performance.

    Hiring managers should look at who will perform best in the role rather than who is smart and attractive. Suggesting otherwise is a giant step backwards for the business and the basis for gut-driven decision making.

    Jan 21, 2012
  3. See, this is exactly why I’ve been pushing for a long term employee-breeding program to help with our talent pipeline!

    Steve Gifford
    Jan 20, 2012
  4. So, my credo is indeed true… “I may be dumb, but at least I’m ugly”.

    Jan 18, 2012
  5. Love it. Makes some sense, but some people just have different tastes. What they find attractive is different from what someone else finds attractive. Evolution also challenges what mainstreams think today is beautiful. Big hips, strong frame in woman vs the sleek definitions of beauty today…so maybe the theory is full of hot air. fun anyway.

    Jan 18, 2012

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