Rumor has it that Big 4 hire only attractive people. How true is this?
According to research from the University of Michigan, beautiful people make more money. This “beauty premium” is comparable to the gap between genders and ethnicity. Another research from Australian National University reveals that taller people earn more, because they are perceived to be more intelligent and powerful.
People like to be around attractive individuals because they appear to be more “sociable, dominant, mentally healthy, intelligent and socially skilled” than their less appealing peers. These people have benefited from this bias for years, giving them higher levels of confidence.
Attractive individuals tend to be more confident and likely to perform better in interviews.
Also, people are naturally drawn to beauty and average-looking candidates may be overlooked. Let’s say a recruiter met 100 students at a college fair. If everyone is equally smart, she is more likely to remember the tall, cute guy.
This is human nature and we have to accept this to some degree, not only in Big 4 but in every company in every industry.
Let’s define the word “attractive”. It could mean hot-looking, charismatic or presentable.
Big 4 are business service firms. Interacting and soliciting business from clients is an important part of the job. Candidates who are smart, and at the same time good with people, are naturally their top choice. I don’t think Big 4 are looking for hotties. Instead, they prefer presentable candidates.
Are there ways to make ourselves more presentable? I think so.
1. Always Take Care of Your Appearance
This applies to the entire recruiting process, from attending the college fair to your final interview. No one expects you to look like an airbrushed model, but it helps to put some time into your appearance. Fair or not, right or wrong, it changes the way you are treated in many ways.
2. Work on Your People Skills
Firms look for people they can be comfortable putting in front of their clients. Think of yourself as the client. Who do you want to see? Likely a well-groomed, cheerful and outgoing individual who is comfortable talking to different types of people. Does this person need to be physically attractive? It helps, but not a must.
Big 4 aren’t necessarily going for good looks, but for those who are good with people.
Attractive individuals have the advantage of attracting people’s attention, but they also need to develop their social and communication skills to become top candidates for Big 4.
Therefore, if your face looks like a brick, you may have an uphill battle but bear in mind that Big 4 aren’t picking up hotties. If you overcome that with solid experience, professionalism, confidence, and a great attitude, you can get hired with no problem.
What do you think? Any stories to share? Drop a note below.
I am the author of How to Pass The CPA Exam (published by Wiley), and I also passed all 4 sections of the CPA Exam on my first try. Additionally, I have led webinars, such as for the Institute of Management Accountants, authored featured articles on websites like Going Concern and AccountingWeb, and I'm also the CFO for the charity New Sight. Finally, I have created other accounting certification websites to help mentor non-CPA candidates. I have already mentored thousands of CPA, CMA, CIA, EA, and CFA candidates, and I can help you too!