How Your Appearance Impacts Your Success

success, attractiveness, facelift Inland Empire
Attractive CEOs get higher pay

Everyone wants to enjoy success.  People spend years and tens of thousands of dollars at college, hoping to land a good job and enjoy a successful career.  Companies spend millions on advertising and training, hoping to enjoy business success.  People want to succeed in their personal lives.  They want to enjoy a happy relationship with a mate they truly love.  You’re probably not surprised to hear that your appearance significantly affects your love life.  But you might not realize the impact it has at work.

Researchers have spent the last 50 years uncovering various ways your appearance can affect success in life.  You’ll find their discoveries interesting.  I know I did.

People initially judge the kind of person you are by your facial appearance

We’ve all heard about the importance of good first impressions.  “First impressions last” is a proven statement.  In fact, studies show that people automatically search for evidence confirming that their first impression of you is correct.  As the victims of Charles Ponzi, Bernie Madoff, and other effective con men learned the hard way, a great first impression can be very misleading.

first impression, success, attractiveness
Good-looking people make strong first impressions

How do we form first impressions of someone we meet?  Princeton University researcher Alexander Todorov revealed one major way:

People routinely make various trait judgments from facial appearance, and such judgments affect important social outcomes… There is abundant research in social psychology about the effects of facial appearance on social outcomes.

Why do people make snap judgments about our character by looking at our face?  Nobel Prize-winning Princeton psychology professor Dr. Daniel Kahneman and respected researcher Dr. Amos Tversky studied how people make decisions.  They discovered that, when they assess a person or situation, people who are busy or lack information often take shortcuts.  These shortcuts, which college textbooks call heuristics, are designed to help us make good decisions quickly.

For instance, when looking for a good restaurant in an unfamiliar place, don’t we usually assume that the one with lots of cars in the parking lot probably has better food (or value) than the one with few?  When shopping for an important item, don’t we often feel that the higher-priced one is better than the low-priced one?  Or that the nationally advertised brand is better than the store brand?

A multitude of studies reveal another shortcut: People routinely judge your character by your face.  Renowned influence expert Robert Cialdini, Ph.D. wrote:

A halo effect occurs when one positive characteristic of a person dominates the way that person is viewed by others.  The evidence is now clear that physical attractiveness is often such a characteristic.  Research has shown that we automatically assign to good-looking individuals such favorable traits as talent, kindness, honesty, and intelligence.

When people meet you, they quickly size you up based, to a great extent, on your facial appearance.  In social situations, we often judge a person with a good-looking face and friendly demeanor as someone we want to be around.  That opens the door to friendships and even romance.

An attractive face often leads to a better job and higher pay

A better appearance can also open the door to a better-paying job.  Hofstra University psychology professor Comila Shahani-Denning wrote, “A review of the literature supports the notion that being physically attractive is an advantage when applying for a job.”  Is this still true today?  A 2019 article in The Journal of Personnel Psychology states:

The influence of a candidate’s physical appearance on interview evaluations is well documented.

Success, attractiveness, income
Attractive people get hired and are paid more.

Technology changes.  The human brain’s built-in tendencies do not.  And, as it has for years, the benefits of looking good go further than just getting a job:

The advantage given to attractive workers extends past hiring day to payday.  Economists examining U.S. and Canadian samples have found that attractive individuals get paid an average of 12-14 percent more than their unattractive coworkers.  – Influence expert Robert Cialdini, PhD

At a time of high inflation, who couldn’t use a higher paycheck?

Better facial appearance contributes to business success

CONTACT Dr. Machida Inland Empire, CA 

Sales managers have for years preferred to hire good-looking salespeople.  Do your looks really contribute to success in sales?  An answer came from an unexpected arena.

Pharmaceutical companies use salespeople to try to influence physicians to prescribe the medicines they manufacture.  Often, two or more drugs provide similar treatment results.  Could using good-looking salespeople have any influence on which competing drugs doctors prescribe?

success, attractiveness
Even physicians can be influenced by a salesperson’s looks

Arizona State University Professor Cheryl Jarvis asked doctors to rate pharmaceutical salespeople’s looks.  Jarvis found that for every point of increase in a salesperson’s attractiveness rating, there was a corresponding rise in prescriptions those doctors wrote for the medications they promoted.  Physicians strive to be objective, thinking only of their patient’s well-being.  But even they could not avoid being swayed by pharmaceutical salespeople’s looks.

Success, attractiveness, CEO compensation, pay
Attractive CEOs receive higher pay

What about top executives?  Researchers writing in Human Resource Management investigated whether, like their employees, good-looking CEOs were paid more.  They rated all 861 Chief Executives in S&P 500 firms over a 10-year period for facial attractiveness.  Then they examined their annual compensation.  They found that, with few exceptions, “the effect of CEO facial attractiveness on compensation is not only robust but also economically significant.”

Achieving success in a challenging economy

From these studies and many others, it’s clear that good-looking people enjoy greater success.  They’re more likely to be hired.  They get higher pay through higher salaries or sales commissions.  Companies promote and highly compensate attractive executives.  How can this affect you?

People in their 50s and 60s may face significant age discrimination.  They can help their cause by taking steps to get rid of the more obvious signs of aging, like jowls, a turkey neck, deep nasolabial folds, bags under their eyes, and sagging eyelids.  A deep plane facelift and, if needed, upper and lower blepharoplasty procedures can “turn back the clock” to a remarkable degree.  That younger look often lasts 10 years or more.

Besides age discrimination, research outlined in Cornell HR Review reveals that unattractive employees are more likely to experience layoffs.  Working with a skilled and experienced facial plastic or plastic surgeon who charges reasonable rates can be an excellent investment.

People in their 40s and early 50s benefit from “slowing down” the facial aging process so they continue to look young, vital, and attractive.  This could include anything from Botox and longer-lasting filler injections to a SMAS facelift or neck lift.  The SMAS facelift primarily improves the lower face and jawline, smoothing wrinkles and eliminating jowls and marionette lines.  It provides less lift than the deep plane facelift, so it’s perfect for those with less advanced facial aging.  A board-certified, experienced facial plastic or plastic surgeon who specializes in the face and neck can recommend the right treatment for you.

success, appearance, facelift Inland Empire, Dr. Brian Machida
Before and After SMAS facelift by Dr. Brian Machida

Young people can benefit from the proven attractiveness hiring advantage by improving any facial imperfection that mars their good looks.  That could include having a rhinoplasty (nose job), improving a receding chin with a chin implant, or an otoplasty to pull back protruding ears.  As I brought out in “Cut Cost of College, Reduce College Debt with Good Planning and Cosmetic Surgery,” a degree from a high-quality program at a “value college” plus improving your appearance may be a better investment than a degree from a high-prestige institution.  That article provides several examples of value colleges and universities.

If you’re looking for success, it’s important to follow what a great deal of research clearly shows.  While top performers are readily hired and paid well regardless of their appearance, most people get a real benefit from looking attractive – and an even bigger penalty for being unattractive.  Why not speak with an experienced board-certified specialist about how to look your best?  If you’re in Inland Empire, California, feel free to come see me at STC Plastic Surgery in Ontario.

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About Larry Rondeau, Managing Editor

Larry Rondeau, Managing Editor at LookYounger.News, is a medical and science writer who is highly experienced in writing about facial rejuvenation procedures, psychology and business. He was mentored by renowned social psychologist, researcher and author Dr. Robert Cialdini, who praised him for his "depth of insight." SUNY Lecturer Peter Pociluyko spoke of Larry's "deep understanding and comprehension of the concepts of social psychology." Larry won 4 national awards while at The Allied Group, where he served as Senior Director of Business Development and later Senior Director of Research and Content Development. ( read more )

Articles by Larry Rondeau, Managing Editor

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