HR Strange But True!
August 29, 2008

ABC's Good Morning America has possibly uncovered a new area of unconscious discrimination in the workplace--straight versus curly hair.

We've seen how applicants who are overweight may be at a disadvantage in job interviews. But now GMA's Taryn Brill has uncovered another way that recruiters may be unconsciously discriminating--hairstyles.

'Regular' Guys Like Straight Style

When the reporter showed pictures of actresses--and herself--with both curly and straight styles, ostensibly as models for a new clothing line, the men definitely favored straight styles. They scored the women with curly hair much lower, commenting that they looked "frazzled" and "giddy," while calling the women with straight hair "classic" and "centered."

Out of a top score of 50, Brill rated a 25 when "curly," but jumped to 31 when her locks were smooth.

Recruiters Have Their Say

Brill, who has naturally curly "big" hair, took pictures of herself in the same outfit with both smooth and curly hairstyles. Then the pictures were shown to two panels of three corporate recruiters, who were asked to rate the applicant on a scale of 1 to 10 and add comments.

None of the recruiters mentioned her hair when it was straight, but all mentioned it when it was curly. One described it as "wild," while another said it would be a distraction.

However, when the panels actually interviewed Brill, the panel who interviewed her as "curly" rated her much higher (20 to 28) on intelligence and ability and on confidence (23 to 28) than her "smooth" version.

Source: Good Morning America

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