While American job seekers “overwhelmingly prefer” an in-person meeting for interviews over a virtual meeting, many — particularly people of color — felt the need to modify their appearance before taking part in job interviews, according to a Feb. 16 report by the American Staffing Association.
In particular, Hispanic applicants (74%) were significantly more likely than White applicants (65%) to say they felt the need to change their appearance before participating in an interview. Additionally, Black applicants were more likely to report feeling they need to shave their facial hair, while Hispanic applicants were more likely to feel they needed to cover tattoos.
People of color may experience harsher snap judgments based on appearance during the interview process, research shows. Hair bias, in particular, can be especially detrimental to Black applicants; the CROWN Act, versions of which have been passed in several states, bans employers from discriminating against applicants and workers with hair texture or styles commonly associated with race or national origin.
“To attract the best talent and create more inclusive workplaces, employers need to send a clear message to candidates that they are hiring based on skills and not physical appearance or dress codes from another era," Richard Wahlquist, president and chief executive officer at the American Staffing Association, said in a statement.
Belonging especially relies on employers working to eliminate “outsiderness” in the workplace, which can start at the top of the talent pipeline.