Bosses Hire People Based on Their Looks
In early February, there was a live
TV battle between popular all-girl idol group AKB48 and a bunch of not
so cute girls. The two sides got into a heated debate about whether
people are judged by their looks or skills.
The AKB48 girls disputed the suggestion that someone would be judged
solely on their looks (a couple of the girls even went as far as crying
over the idea), but the “average looking” group, represented by slightly
overweight teenagers with rather normal, but visible signs of puberty,
had a different take—that they are always labeled as “losers” because of
But that program went on and was soon forgotten.
That is, until Nippon TV brought up the issue during its live variety
program “Tokoro no me ga ten!” hosted by popular entertainer George
Tokoro on Feb 19. Since then, the topic has become one of the most hotly
debated issues online, according to J-Cast.
In order to come to a conclusion about whether people are indeed
judged by their looks instead of their skills when applying for a job,
the program producers organized a real experiment, where they recruited
two models and two “regular” looking university students of both sexes
and organized a job interview with three recruiting agents, without
informing them about the experiment, J-Cast reports.
The results of the experiment were that in all cases, those who got
the job were the models, not the university students.
In order to balance the results, the experiment was repeated several
times with only male and only female recruiters, but the results were
the same, says J-Cast.
“In Japan, of course, skills are important too,” says Osaka
University professor Ikuo Oobo, “but it is normal for recruiters to give
a thought about whether they can work in a good environment with the
The program producers, however, were eager to see whether looks are
indeed more important than brains and skills.
In order to prove that, they asked both the male and female models to
purposely act ignorant and make embarrassing mistakes, such as saying
“Our current Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama” (who resigned a long time
ago), showing their lack of knowledge about current affairs and society.
However, that did not influence their prospects of getting the job
Since the program was broadcast, blogs and online commentaries
debating the topic have kept on increasing. Surprisingly, many seem to
agree that is the reality. “What is left for unattractive people, then,
if studying hard gets them nowhere?” laments one.
Some comments even went as far as to suggest that Japan’s leaders
should start undergoing plastic surgery and become like South Korea, a
country where the practice among public officials and individuals is
On the other hand, some readers protested against the results of the
experiment, J-Cast adds. “Are men who marry women only for their looks
really happy and satisfied?” asked one. Another said: “Companies who
hire people based on their looks will eventually end up losing a lot.”
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