Bosses likelier to hire someone with whom they feel 'spark'
Employers are more likely to hire people they fancy because they find "leisure pursuits, background and self-presentation" are more important than skills, researchers claim.
Women in the workplace have fought a long battle to prove their skills, experience and CV are the only keys to their success but their efforts may have been in vain as according to the new study a winning smile and a little gentle flirtation may be the key to securing a job after all.
The study suggests that employers would rather hire someone "who will be their friend or maybe even their romantic partner" with whom they feel a "spark".
A study, conducted by American sociologists, found that interviewers at banking, law and management consultancy firms consistently prefer applicants they "feel good around".
More than half of employers claim attractiveness, the right social background and how candidates spend their leisure time are the most important considerations when hiring.
Dr Lauren Rivera, from Northwestern University in the United States, found interviewers often put their personal feelings of comfort, acceptance and excitement first.
Half of those studied ranked "cultural fit" as the most important criterion at job interview stage, meaning that they were more likely to hire someone with the same "leisure pursuits, background and self-presentation" as current staff.
"Of course employers are looking for people who have the baseline of skills to effectively do the job," the Telegraph quoted her as saying.
"But, beyond that, employers really want people who they will bond with, who they will feel good around, who will be their friend and maybe even their romantic partner.
"As a result, employers don't necessarily hire the most skilled candidates," she said.
The study based on 120 is the first investigation of its kind into whether shared culture between employers and job candidates matters.
"It is important to note this does not mean employers are hiring unqualified people," Dr Rivera said.
"But my findings demonstrate that - in many respects - employers hire in a manner more closely resembling the choice of friends or romantic partners than how one might expect employers to select new workers.
"When you look at the decision to date or marry someone what you think about is commonalities. Do you have a similar level of education? Did you go to a similar calibre school? Do you enjoy similar activities? Are you excited to talk to each other? Do you feel the spark?
"These types of things are salient at least to the employers I've studied," she added.
The study has been published in the American Sociological Review.