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Have a facial imperfection? You may want to mention it early during a job interview

Do you have moles, scars or birthmarks on your face? If so, you may want to mention it right away during a job interview.
Credit: AP Images

HOUSTON — If you have a facial imperfection, say, a mole, scar or birthmark, you may want to say something about it early on during a job interview.

Employers may be less likely to focus on the facial imperfections when the interviewee acknowledges them upfront, according to a newly released study.

"To Look or Not to Look: Acknowledging Facial Stigmas in the Interview to Reduce Discrimination."

That's the name of the study conducted by Rice University and the University of Houston. Click on the link above to read the entire study.

More than 100 people took part in the experiment, which included a series of mock job interviews.

Participants listened to a computer-mediated interview while looking at a picture of someone with a scar or a port white stain. Half of the interviewees said something about their facial stigma within the first minute of the interview and the other half didn't. After the interviews, the 112 participants took a survey.

Researchers found that when the interviewee mentioned their facial imperfection, the people in the study were more likely to ignore it throughout the interview process.

"Our research shows that if a person does not acknowledge their facial scar, people seem to get stuck in a vicious cycle of staring at the scar and looking away, only to return to looking at it again," one of the researchers said. "Importantly, acknowledging the scar immediately heightens people’s attention to it, but then that attention dissipates. They seem to have figured out what and why it is there, and it no longer becomes worthy of their attention."

Researchers said they hope the study brings attention to workplace discrimination based on looks as well as illustrate how physical features can impact the interview process.

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