Interviewing strategies in the face of beauty: a psychophysiological investigation into the job negotiation process

Carl Senior, Karly Thomson, Julia Badger, Michael J.R. Butler

Research output: Chapter in Book/Published conference outputChapter


After the application form is submitted, the interview is the most important method of human resource allocation. Previous research has shown that the attractiveness of interviewees can significantly bias interview outcome. We have previously shown that female interviewers give attractive male interviewees higher status job packages compared their average looking counterparts. However, it is not known whether male interviewers exhibit such biases. In the present study, participants were asked to take part in a mock job negotiation scenario where they had to allocate either a high- or low-status job package to attractive or average looking ``interviewees.'' Before each decision was made, the participant's anticipatory electrodermal response (EDR) was recorded. The results supported our previous finding in that female participants allocated a greater number of high-status job packages to attractive men. Additionally, male participants uniformly allocated a greater number of low-status job packages to both attractive men and attractive women. Overall, the average looking interviewees incurred a penalty and received a significantly greater number of low-status job packages. In general, the EDR profile for both male and female participants was significantly greater when allocating the low-status packages to the average looking interviewees. However, the male anticipatory EDR profile showed the greatest change when allocating attractive women with low-status job packages. We discuss these findings in terms of the potential biases that may occur at the job interview and place them within an evolutionary psychology framework.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe social cognitive neuroscience of corporate thinking
EditorsCarl Senior, Michael J. Butler
Place of PublicationOxford (UK)
Number of pages21
ISBN (Print)978-1-57331-698-9, 1-57331-698-9
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2007

Publication series

NameAnnals of the New York Academy of Sciences
PublisherWiley Blackwell
ISSN (Electronic)1749-6632


  • interpersonal attraction
  • interviews
  • social status
  • employment packages
  • human resource
  • social cognitive neuroscience
  • electrodermal response


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