Imagine you finally landed your “dream job” and are going for an interview. You have worked on your appearance, prepared answers to all possible questions, drank a couple of sips of water to calm your nerves, and go into the room where the person who should decide your fate is waiting for you. However…

…Until you realize that nothing you did to get this job really matters. The decision on whether they will take you or not is made exactly at the second when you open the door, and your future interlocutor looks up and sees you.

If at first glance you seem incompetent and untrustworthy to him, you will never get this job, even if you are seven spans in your forehead. And all because this person, unfortunately, belongs to those people who are inclined to make an unshakable judgment about the personal qualities of others, only casually looking at their faces.


In fact, we all do exactly the same thing all the time, it’s just that our judgments are not as extreme as those of this hypothetical interviewer. The facial expression of a stranger, the structure, the degree of symmetry of the features – all this affects our instant subconscious assessments and decisions, for example, can this person be trusted, how prone to aggression and dominance, is he smart … We are programmed for this by evolution itself, because natural the selection kept alive those who could quickly and accurately figure out whether a stranger they had just met was worth fearing or not.

However, such an effect also underlies faceism (from face – face), when certain characteristics of a person’s appearance are stereotypically associated with negative personality traits. As shown by a recent study by Japanese psychologists, some people, like the interviewer mentioned above, are especially prone to faceism, drawing radical conclusions about the personal qualities of another person at first sight, based only on how his face looks.

The researchers conducted a series of online surveys with 300 volunteers. Participants were shown images of human faces and asked to rate their personality traits. Only a quick glance at the faces was enough for such an assessment for all participants, but some of them made especially harsh judgments.


Such unconscious reactions from employers are very common when hiring employees and become a real problem in this case, scientists say. For example, feminine facial features and large eyes make you perceive the applicant as an incompetent and insufficiently qualified person. And the rough facial features and hard look of a potential employee make you think that he or she is not trustworthy.

Since first impressions are notoriously hard to get rid of, no matter how untrue they may be, all this leads to the fact that the wrong people are often hired.

Some companies even conduct special trainings aimed at getting rid of subconscious stereotypes associated with appearance. Moreover, even short psychotherapeutic sessions in this case bring positive results, as they transfer this problem from the subconscious to the conscious area. When you are aware of what is happening, it is easier for you to change your mental attitudes and monitor your assessments and reactions.