During the summer, there's one specific place I like to go to for an orange-vanilla twist ice cream cone. It's about 15 minutes away, but I don't mind the drive because it lets me have time in the car to listen to my books on tape.

I go for the ice cream, but there's also this other benefit. Whoever hires the young ladies that work there in the summer knows what men like because every one of them he hires is beautiful. I'd go there even if they weren't, but they are and that doesn't bother me one bit. 🙂

However, it always makes me think of some things over time that makes me wonder every once in awhile if employers actually care if qualifications matter sometimes when it comes to how nice someone else looks?

For instance, I know someone who told me that back in the 90's his company needed some more business because they were stagnant. So what he and his partners did was hire a couple of pretty women that had just graduated college, trained them just enough so they could market the company's services, then sent them out on the road. He said that they had a success rate of getting in to see hospital CFOs was between 75% and 80%. Trust me, you can't get them to talk to you on the phone 1% of the time, so this was a phenomenal rate. He also said that when they'd pay to have booths set up at health care trade shows that they would always end up with a very high number of leads to contact to provide services once those shows were over.

There's no denying that we are all drawn by those things which are pleasing to our eyes or other senses. Marketing companies know this, which is why there are so many commercials with pretty people, often not wearing all that many clothes. The failing in this is that sometimes we have no idea what the product is for because we're not paying that much attention. It's something that beer companies are pretty good at but clothing companies seem to fair at more often than not. Distraction doesn't always end up doing what one is hoping it will.

Of course there's the other side of this issue as well. I remember a cousin of mine telling me the story of not wanting to hire a particular woman because he thought she was too attractive to be any good at the job he needed to hire her for. His wife asked him what her qualifications were like and he said they looked very good. She then asked him to evaluate whether he was being unfair based on her looks if her background was stellar. He thought about it, decided to bring her in again for a second interview but when a different focus in his own mind. He asked a different set of questions that were geared towards testing her knowledge and she passed easily. He realized his original belief was flawed, hired her, and within a few years she was in management at his company because of her knowledge and skill.

Anyone in a management position is faced with a decision like that at some point in their hiring history. I've interviewed a lot of women, some quite stunning, and not necessarily always needing someone with competence and skill at the job I was going to have to have them trained to do. Yet, I always went into the interviewing process knowing 3 things:

1. I wasn't going to date anyone I hired
2. I needed someone who could learn fast
3. I needed someone who gave me the impression that they would stay for awhile.

Of course that last one is always a crap shoot because you never know what will happen in another person's life. Still, as long as I had valid criteria in front of me I hoped that I would always make the right choice. I did fail a couple of times, but it was never based on how someone looked.

Be honest with yourself. Are you hiring people based more on their looks than their qualifications, no matter which direction you're going? Is it fair?

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