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Do Looks Matter in the Selection of the Candidate
Human Resources » Recruitment & Staffing

Chrm Message From: smitaa Total Posts: 32 Join Date: 21/08/2006
Rank: Executive Post Date: 02/09/2006 01:02:57 Points: 160 Location: United States

Hi Friends,

Most of the times, the human resource division is busy in sourcing and recruiting talent for their organisation which consumes much of their productive time which can be diverted to other functional areas too. But what goes into the selection of the candidate ? Do looks really matter for the same ? Let us consider this:-

Discussion Point :

Recently, I happened to meet a friend of mine who attended interview with a giant MNC BPO (name withheld). As far as I know, my friend is a qualified, experienced and a deserving candidate for the customer care job in call centre. She also has good communication skills. In interview she was asked the standard question 'Tell me about yourself" and she did tell them everything about her professional background and described her disposition. As usual, they said" we'll get back to you". She understood what the reply was and left the place. There was another friend of her who attended interview and got selected.

The problem here is that my friend feels she was declined inspite of being a deserving candidate because she wasn't good looking and her friend who's not as competent as her got selected because she was good looking. As a recruiter, I tried to give all my explanations to my friend but she simply doesn't seem to be convinced. This prompted me to ask you all one question in general, though it may sound simple.

Do looks matter in the selection of a candidate?



Chrm Message From: boman Total Posts: 20 Join Date: 21/08/2006  
Rank: Executive Post Date: 02/09/2006 02:08:45 Points: 100 Location: United States

Hi smita & collegues,

Do looks matter?? this may be dependent on two things first the type of job and second is impression of the person. In certain industries like service sector and places where face to face dealing with customer is involved the looks will definitesly matter as you need an employee who is presentable like hoteling industry, airlines etc. Apart from this at times recruiters do get carried away by the looks of the candidates. Some people with attractive looks come across as smarter which may not be the case infact. Hence looks do matter to some extent during the job interviews. The first impression of the candidate matters a lot and the first impression to a large extent will be defined by his/her looks.



Chrm Message From: Danish Total Posts: 39 Join Date: 21/08/2006  
Rank: Executive Post Date: 04/09/2006 00:39:43 Points: 195 Location: United States

Dear all,

It might be right to say but it's true that looks do matter for a customer care job in call centers. The reasons may vary from company to company but in the end, even if you have got all the ingredents and the grey matter, if your personal presentation is not upto the mark then you are not a fit in the organisation. The primary reason that I see, as I too had tried my luck earlier in the BPO industry, is that since it deals with contacting the clients, the employees need to be more attractive. This may also be the reason why there are more number of attrative females than males in the BPO industry.

However, coming to practical terms, I would say, and believe, since some of the clients would be visiting the BPO company from time to time and the company needs to project an "attractive" picture, the BPO industry is recruiting more number of suitably attractive candidates rather than talented, simple candidates like your friend.



Chrm Message From: tesmian Total Posts: 63 Join Date: 21/08/2006  
Rank: Manager Post Date: 04/09/2006 04:00:08 Points: 315 Location: United States

In response to the topic under discussion - do looks matter in the selection of the candidate, here are my views on the same.

To get through an interview and to get an offer is like being selected to compete in the Olympics: you have to outperform hundreds or thousands of competitors and are down to the find a job. You are now competing with the best of the best.

Interviews, bring both parties (the interviewers and the interviewees) to see each other.
Visual senses account for 55% of our communication, hearing 20% and all others put together 25%. Therefore what the interviewer sees is most important.

In-sight: Your interview starts the moment you are seen by the interviewer/s. Handle yourself confidently from the start.

Handshakes: Let the interviewer extend his/her hand first. Offer a brief firm handshake. Ensure your palms are not wet or sweaty.

Here are some more tips to handle such interviews successfully.

Dress conservatively and professionally:
You can establish your uniqueness through other ways, but what you wear to an interview can make a tremendous difference. It is better to overdress than under-dress. You can, however, wear the same clothes to see different people.

Be aware of your body language:
Try to look alert, energetic, and focused on the interviewer. Make eye contact. Non-verbally, this communicates that you are interested in the individual. Your body language and gestures will send messages (slouching, folding and waving arms, shrugging, crossing and uncrossing legs frequently, etc.) to the interviewer. Avoid negative posture and gestures.

Problem Hands:
Do not make too many gestures (fidgeting, scratching, pointing or cover your face with your hands, etc.) while speaking. This could distract, confuse or irritate the interviewer. Clasp your hands together, this will help constrain any nervous reactions that may surface during the interview.

Eye Contact:
Ensure you make eye contact while answering questions. This will indicate your confidence, help you convince and give you feedback how the answer is being received. Do not ignore a panel member even if he/she does not ask a question.

Interviewer's Mood:
Observe the interviewer's mood (enthusiastic, happy, tired, rushed for time, serious, etc.) and adjust accordingly.

Be Yourself :
Be natural, do not put on an act as this may create a negative impact or confuse the interviewer.

Getting Through :
While answering questions observe and gauge the interviewer's acceptance level of your answer. Elaborate, cut-short or change your answer accordingly.

First/last impressions:
The first and last five minutes of the interview are the most important to the interview. It is during this time that critical first and lasting impressions are made and the interviewer decides whether or not they like you. Communicate positive behaviors during the first five minutes and be sure you are remembered when you leave.

There have been many occasion that I have seen that people who interview aren't too serious. I am calling this point, into this discussion, especially when there are a number of people to be seen. Many people spend a lot of time initially with a lot of the early candidates and there after they tend to get bored. Interviews thus get to become a routine and monotonous.

At the risk of advising, I am attempting to plead the interviewers to be more than just present.

How To Be 110% Present during interviews

Why is it important to be 110% present?

There are lots of reasons.

The most important is being able to learn more about who another person really is, and to learn more about how can we get the best for the organization, through the other person. The outcome can actually be the ability to hire the appropriate talent.

The following are the tips to engage in being 110% present. As Yogi Berra said, "You can hear a lot just by listening."

1. Focus on the other person.
2. Create an atmosphere of trust for ongoing communication.
3. Relax your body.
5. Create time to listen fully.
6. Maintain eye contact.
7. Create mental and emotional equality.
8. Be open to all possibilities.
9. Repeat what the other person has said, don't just respond or second-guess.
10. Be natural and patient.

More views awaited !!



Chrm Message From: proftandon Total Posts: 101 Join Date: 21/08/2006  
Rank: Leader Post Date: 05/09/2006 02:02:53 Points: 505 Location: United States

Dear Friends,

Just went thru tesmian's detailed piece on the above. Very true. I remember conducting around 22 interviews in a day and it really started to tell on my back. One thing I was able to do was to maintain my interest levels because my co panelist was as enthusiastic as i was.

But the point I want to make is that I am not sure what we are trying to mean by the word "LOOKS" - Physical looks really do not matter I think as long as one is presentable and personally well turned out. If all of us thought like that then this discussion would have happened a long time ago.

I have personally declined a job to a youngster who came in Jeans and shirt with sandals on - his explanation was that he had travelled in that morning which was also a lie. He had written the qualifying test the previous day!

As an interviewer I am personally averse to a candidate shaking his legs - or a woman candidate dressed like a christmas tree. These are personal dislikes though.

But gone are the days of contents and not the container. The container is as important as the contents regardless of if you are facing the customer or not.


Prof Tandon

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