- Research has shown that overlooking overweight job candidates — especially women — is an age-old recruiting and hiring problem. A new study proves that little has changed, reports Quartz.
- Researchers digitally altered pictures of some men and women to add weight to their bodies. They showed the pictures to 120 people, explaining that all those photographed were equally qualified for hiring in either customer-facing jobs or non customer-facing jobs.
- As researchers expected, overweight men were seen as less qualified for customer-facing jobs than less visible jobs. However, overweight women were seen as less qualified for both types of positions. This was also the case for women whose photos were altered so that they appeared heavier than average but still within a healthy BMI range.
Other studies show that, besides being overlooked as job candidates in the first place, overweight women who are hired were less likely to earn a promotion. Although overweight workers aren't a protected class under Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, a weight-based disparity case against a woman could become a gender bias case under the law.
Recruiters with a tendency to dismiss qualified candidates because of their weight must end this form of discrimination. They can learn to keep their personal feelings, judgments and preferences out of recruitment decision-making. Scientists are developing artificial intelligence software to help recruiters and hiring managers recognize their own unconscious biases, and other organizations have followed suit with training programs.