Less-attractive people can use a power pose to level the playing field

Good looking people are more likely to get hired and get paid more thanks to ‘beauty premium’ – but ‘power pose’ can help less attractive people level the playing field, study finds

  • Less-attractive people can be equal to good-looking people by having a powerful posture 
  • Standing feet shoulder-width apart, hands on hips, chest out and chin up, less-attractive people can use the ‘power pose’ 
  • With this pose, less attractive people matched the nonverbal presence that more attractive people displayed naturally 
  • Participants’ attractiveness was rated on a 1-5 point scale, 5 deemed ‘very attractive’

Good looking people are more likely to get a job and receive better performance evaluations thanks to the ‘beauty premium,’ but less-attractive people can level the playing field by having a powerful posture, a new study suggests.   

Researchers from the University at Buffalo School of Management determined that less-attractive people who stand with their feet shoulder-width apart, hands on hips, chest out and chin up, known as the ‘power pose,’ can cut into the ‘beauty premium’ that good-looking people enjoy.

Less-attractive people can be equal to good-looking people by having a powerful posture, a new study says

Standing feet shoulder-width apart, hands on hips, chest out and chin up, less-attractive people can use the ‘power pose’

WHAT IS THE BEAUTY PREMIUM IN EMPLOYMENT? 

Researchers claim a ‘beauty premium’ exists within the labor market.

This is where employers value attractiveness in employees when deciding salary and in hiring.

A study by the University of Iowa revealed that taller men and skinnier women earned up to £700 more per year than short men and fatter women.

Other studies have found that women who wear makeup are seen as more trustworthy than women who don’t. 

Although a 2018 study by the University of Massachusetts found that people perceived as ‘very unattractive’ earn more than better looking peers.

This was likely due to ugly people being less open to new experiences and more likely to commit to their job, the team behind the research said.

A study in 2006 by Wesleyan University found that employers thought beautiful people were more productive even when only interviewed over the phone. 

This suggests that the confidence that can come with being beautiful allows people to present themselves better even when not visible. 

The findings come just days after a separate study found that short men and obese women earn up to $1,000 per year less than their taller, skinnier counterparts.   

‘By adopting the physical postures associated with feelings of power and confidence, less attractive people can minimize behavioral differences in the job search,’ said the study’s lead author, Min-Hsuan Tu, in a statement.

‘But power posing is not the only solution—anything that can make you feel more powerful, like doing a confidence self-talk, visualizing yourself succeeding, or reflecting on past accomplishments before a social evaluation situation can also help.’  

By using this pose, less attractive people matched the nonverbal presence that more attractive people displayed naturally, according to the statement. 

The researchers collected the data from March 2015 to February 2016. 

Participants’ attractiveness was rated by seven people on a 1-5 point scale, with 1 being deemed ‘very unattractive’ and 5 deemed ‘very attractive.’ 

In addition to the new study, an additional study was also conducted, with both findings totaling 300 elevator pitches for people participating in a mock job search at a Fortune 500 company, with a three minute interview with the hiring manager. 

This separate study found that managers saw good-looking people as more hirable due to having a better nonverbal presence, such as gestures. 

‘If attractive individuals are indeed more successful nonverbal communicators than others, that would help to explain their favorable outcomes in organizational evaluations,’ the researchers wrote.

‘Indeed, one meta-analysis found that nonverbal behaviors may be even stronger predictors of interviewer ratings than are verbal behaviors.’

With this pose, less attractive people matched the nonverbal presence that more attractive people displayed naturally

The researchers collected the data from March 2015 to February 2016. Participants’ attractiveness was rated by seven people on a 1-5 point scale, with 1 being deemed ‘very unattractive’ and 5 deemed ‘very attractive’

‘We wanted to examine whether there’s an overall bias toward beauty on the job, or if attractive people excel professionally because they’re more effective communicators,’ Hsuan Tu, assistant professor of organization and human resources at the university, added. 

‘What we found was that while good looking people have a greater sense of power and are better nonverbal communicators, their less attractive peers can level the playing field during the hiring process by adopting a powerful posture.’

The study was recently published in Personnel Psychology.

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