People are superficial. Time and time again studies have proved that most people (whether consciously or unconsciously) make judgments about other people based on physical appearance. How this manifests in the workplace is that unattractive people often get the short end of the stick. Economist Daniel Hamermesh reveals in his book Beauty Pays: Why Attractive People Are More Successful that, “…the attractive are more likely to be employed [and] receive more substantial pay…” This research has been out for a while, but I hadn’t given much thought to the implications of the findings in my personal life until I had to re-enter the job search market.
Job Searching With Natural Hair
I typically wear my hair in dreadlocks as a matter of convenience and have done so for the past three years. So when I started meeting with recruiters and interviewing for a new job, the thought of changing my hair for the sole purpose of landing a job didn’t even occur to me. Curiously, even though I felt that I was a great candidate, I wasn’t getting any call-backs. Frustrated and annoyed with my lack of progress, I
called my sister to vent about my job search woes. Her advice: wear a wig. Really? So my stellar resume, exceptional work experience and superstar personality meant nothing? I refused. I was adamant – I would rise against the tide of corporate conformity!
Fast forward to a few weeks later, still no call-backs. I started thinking about a recent experience that I’d had in my local grocery store when a young white girl excitedly pointed at me, turned to her father and said, “Daddy, daddy look! That girl has funny hair!” Maybe my sister was right after-all. So I reluctantly pulled on a wig for my next interviews, and rather coincidentally, I started getting call-backs. Now, this obviously could just mean that I got better at interviewing. But on the other hand, maybe there was something more vile underpinning this coincidence…
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