Dear Aunty B,
I am hiring a personal assistant and my office manager screened the applications and produced three candidates.
I have chosen one – against her advice – who also happens to be extremely good looking.
My office manager has accused me of putting looks before skills, most unfairly as she added the good looking one to the pool of candidates in the first place.
My view is that having the skills and the looks can only be a good thing. Besides the office manager is a bit of a looker herself so it hasn’t done her any harm.
Anyway, you sound like a reasonable sort of person. Is there anything wrong with hiring sexy women if they are as good as the plainer variety?
Mt Waverley, Vic
The point your office manager is trying to make is not that you put skills and looks on an equal footing – but that you are blinded by looks and overlook who is best for the job.
And you are not alone. Many men turn into salivating baboons who turn off their brains when faced with an attractive, charming woman in a job interview. They stop listening, let the job interview go on far too long and then argue passionately against all reason for hiring the attractive person once the interview is over.
Obviously you fit the salivating baboon variety. As such you should listen to your office manager who is probably also annoyed that the company will be forced to pay a beauty premium. Don’t know what that is?
A survey by Daniel Hamermesh of the University of Texas points out that after collecting data from many countries, attractive people (people with symmetrical features) are paid more (by silly bosses like you) than plain people. In the US and Canada, attractive people enjoy a beauty premium of 5%. In Shanghai women earn 10% more.
I am not advocating that you should not hire beautiful women who, of course, are as capable – or incapable – as anyone else.
Just that you keep the caveman out of the office.
Mind you, you can’t be completely boorish. You have hired a very insightful office manager.