I was delivering some training this week on the topic of "Fair Recruitment". It's not a full Recruitment and Selection programme (although I do that as well) but more of a peek into Equal Opportunities, Diversity and how we need to look at it with reference to recruitment.
We looked at the Equality Act 2010, including the Protected Characteristics and considered how these affect our recruitment processes and we discussed some of the things we do/do not to to make sure we comply with the law, but most of all to be FAIR.
The subject of appearance came up, as it often does. The question was discussed, "Can we select someone for a job based on their appearance?".Well the answer of course, is yes. There is nothing in the law that says we cannot; whether this is ethically right or wrong of course depends on your personal views.
I was once running a course and a director of this company said he didn't want to employ any "ugly" people. I did challenge him of course and he said (the company was retail) no one would want the Elephant Man helping them to make their purchase. He had a point I suppose, although it does sound discriminatory, which it is.
You only have to look at the team of people working in many environments to see there is often a similarity in the way they look. Myself and my husband often visit a particular pub and have remarked about how most of the staff have similar looks. Not that this is perhaps intentional, but it is an observation.
The subject of size often crops up too; perhaps the attractiveness of the applicant may be linked to this? There is certainly a case that in some workplaces you have to be able to physically carry out certain tasks for safety reasons and being over a certain size may restrict you (e.g. cabin crew).
The other consideration for many employers now is of course the current fashion for tattoos and body piercing. Some employers restrict what you can and cannot have on view, especially if you are dealing with the public. It may be that a septum piercing or a tattoo spelling "DEATH" on someone's neck may not be something that will portray the company image you wish to convey to your customers? In your opinion of course!
Attractiveness is of course extremely subjective. It would be a very strange world if we all found exactly the same kind of persons attractive or not, as the case may be. We do seem to be in an age when we are more and more obssessed with appearance and some people will go to extremes of surgery of other non surgical methods to change their appearance. (Check out botox!) I am sure that the current trend of the "selfie" plays a part in the obsession many people have with their appearance.
So, what are your experiences of the recruitment process?
- Have you ever given somone a job mainly because of the way they look?
- Have you ever been given a job because of the way you look or maybe you were turned down for the same reason?
- Do you think it's fair or unfair for some employers to have rules about your appearance, especially regarding tattoos and piercings?
- Maybe we should only ever carry out recruitment interviews by not seeing the person?
Have a great week!
Btw: Try typing in "beauty" on any pic site. You get lots of pictures of females only. It seems we associate the word "beauty" with the female form. Not that we are sexist society of course.