Julia Roberts in the motion picture, 'Pretty Woman' (1990).
Julia Roberts in the motion picture, 'Pretty Woman' (1990).
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Attractive women are better off excluding their photos from job applications, an Israeli study has shown, for they are less likely to be offered an interview if recruiters perceive them as beautiful. The reason? Plain old jealousy.

According to a report by The Economist, a study was conducted by Bradley Ruffle at Ben-Gurion University and Ze’ev Shtudiner at Ariel University Centre that looked at what happens when job hunters include photos with their curricula vitae, as is the norm in much of Europe and Asia.

"The pair sent fictional applications to over 2,500 real-life vacancies. For each job, they sent two very similar résumés, one with a photo, one without. Subjects had previously been graded for their attractiveness," explained The Economist.

Attractive men - as was expected - were more likely to be invited for an interview if they included a photo, and ugly men were better off not including one. But for women, the results were reversed. Good-looking women were less likely to be offered an interview when they included a photo in their application than plainer women. In fact, an attractive woman would need to send out 11 CVs on average before getting an interview, while an equally qualified plain one just seven, said the report.

"At first, Mr Ruffle considered what he calls the “dumb-blonde hypothesis”—that people assume beautiful women to be stupid. However, the photos had also been rated on how intelligent people thought each subject looked; there was no correlation between perceived intellect and pulchritude," said the report, "So the cause of the discrimination must lie elsewhere."

In the Israeli study, 93% of those tasked with inviting applicants for an interview were female. "The researchers’ unavoidable—and unpalatable—conclusion is that old-fashioned jealousy led the women to discriminate against pretty candidates," said The Economist.

The remaining question is whether good-looking women are better off attaching unattractive photos to job applications, or whether they should omit their headshot altogether. Ruffle recommends the latter.