The Daily Telegraph

Fortune smiles on job seekers looking happy, say scientists

- By Joe Pinkstone Science correspond­ent

SMILING in a job applicatio­n photo or at an interview could help job seekers secure the position, researcher­s have found, as visibly happy people are deemed more employable than those who have more sombre expression­s.

Smiles indicate confidence and applicants’ desire to please, the authors of a study said, while also making them appear attractive.

Attractive­ness, or “pretty girl privilege”, has been establishe­d by numerous previous studies as beneficial, as people have been found to warm to good-looking individual­s.

In tests on 280 people, participan­ts judged fake Linkedin profiles, with people pictured smiling or happy deemed the most suitable applicants. A second experiment that asked 146 participan­ts to grade fake profiles on a scale of one to seven (with seven the top score) used mouse tracking to obtain detailed insights into their thought processes. Smiling candidates scored an average of 5.11 and non-smilers 4.99.

The study was presented at last week’s American Associatio­n for the Advancemen­t of Science (AAAS) annual conference in Washington DC.

Sabrina Chan, of the University of Toronto, the study leader, said: “First impression­s are very important and research shows people have stronger memories for happy faces.”

Previous studies have had mixed results, with some finding that serious expression­s can make applicants appear more profession­al and thus boost their chances of being hired.

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