Fitness First was once accused of preferring thinner people when recruiting for gym staff. The claim caused quite a debate at the time. So, here is a scenario for you. There are two candidates applying for a single role and they are both very strong with similar qualifications, experience and attitude. Candidate “A” has a lean appearance, while candidate “B” is clearly overweight. Who gets the job? Do they both stand an equal chance, or is the lean candidate advantaged?
Harvard researchers are discovering that in many settings, the leaner candidate will prevail, and not just in health club settings, where physical appearance is so closely linked to the club’s purpose. Is this rational? Perhaps not, but then many decisions are made at deeper, more unconscious levels. Today, I completed a Harvard test that measures the degree to which we associate “fat” and “thin”, with “good” and “bad”. After completing the “implicit association test”, I discovered that I have a strong bias for thin people. I joined the 25% of respondents that held this preference.
You can test your own preference by clicking on the Harvard link. The test takes around eight minutes. Please leave a comment and let me know your test result.