How Weight Really Affects Your Chances of Landing a Job

Kelsey Clark

We've already discussed the unfortunate fact that you'll land a job interview if you wear a low-cut top. But another form of hiring discrimination has somehow managed to surpass that already crossed line, targeting women in the process. According to a new study published in the Plos One journal, women in the service industry are more likely to experience weight-based hiring discrimination than men. What's worse, the women in the study technically had a normal BMI, whereas the men were categorized as being overweight.

The researchers asked 120 men and women to assume the role of hiring manager and rate 40 different photos of potential candidates, based on hire-ability. They also specified that each candidate was qualified for the job and that said job would require them to interact with customers face to face. Little did the participants know, however, that the researchers had inserted eight digitally altered photos of men and women into the roundup, each specifically edited to look heavier. The women were edited to reflect a BMI of 24.06, which falls within the "normal" range of 18.5 to 24.9. The men, on the other hand, reflected a 26.47 BMI, which falls under the "overweight" category.

"[The participants] were less likely to hire the heavier-looking women in a customer-facing role. There was no significant difference between the ratings of the men's original or 'heavier' faces for the two types of jobs," writes New York Magazine of the study. "So essentially, these normal-weight women faced higher levels of bias than overweight men."

What do you think of the study results? Join the discussion in the comments below, and shop this book to prepare for your next interview.

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