Does one need a competent looking face to land a job as CEO? A story in today’s Wall Street Journal entitled “Is CEO Success Just Skin Deep?” suggests the answer could be “yes.”
The article reports that researchers at Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business, working with the National Bureau of Economic Research, found that CEOs are perceived to have more competent-looking faces than non-CEOs.
Finance professors John Graham, Campbell Harvey and Manju Puri of the Fuqua School asked 2,000 students to rate the photos of 100 CEOs and non-executives for competence, according to a story on the school’s blog. The photos featured individuals with similar facial features, hairstyles and clothing. What their study, A Corporate Beauty Contest, found was that CEOs are more likely than non-CEOs to be rated as competent looking, though also less likely to be classified as likeable.
But before HR execs get too exciting—figuring they can trim their vetting process down to 15 minutes of simply studying a CEO candidate’s facial characteristics—they need to consider one other finding: There was no evidence that a CEO’s appearance is related in any way to a company’s profitability.
Oh well, guess we’ll have to just keep vetting as usual.