What Human Resources professionals know but may not tell: An employment prospect’s total presentation makes an impression: body language, facial expression, voice tone, attire, grooming, hygiene. Clues of competence and reliability can’t really show in the structure, texture or expression of the face, or even in outward personality; many very accomplished workers are placid, stiff or reserved in their demeanors. Some socially awkward but high-achieving employees even demonstrate difficulty in making eye contact. Employers looking for that “genius nerd” who works best in virtual isolation, may even deliberately avoid “too much” personality and sociability in job candidates. (But, obviously, smiling, confident, socially adept candidates may not measure up to stringent job requirements.)
Where strong leadership and social skills are crucial to performance, clues to a lack of physical and emotional vibrancy may be revealed in “dead” or “dull” faces, languid body language, and weak or nervous vocalizations. All else being equal or if otherwise qualified, employers prefer that poised, polished, vital-looking, strong and steady-voiced applicant for the job.
Websites now advise interviewees to consult life and job coaches for boosting their confidence levels and self-esteem—to even practice their smiles and body language in front of mirrors. (One social scientist reports improved sense of self-worth and well being from the physical act of exercising one’s smile muscles while suppressing those controlling frowns.)
Plastic surgery, injections and dental makeovers are all reported to have improved appearance and self-confidence in some people (Botox injections by actually suppressing the frown muscles directly.) All’s fair in war, love and business. But beware, where positive self-image morphs into narcissism, keen observers will detect preening and posing—definite turn-offs.
Faces Tell All predicts the establishment of faces counseling as a branch of psychology. Using celebrity and character actors as models, clients who don’t like their own features, would be reassured that every face has unique value—particularly when animated by positive emotion and expression. In as much as self-confidence is an “inside job”, affirmations of self-worth can transform that outer countenance and the perceptions of others.