Would you hire someone whose face you've never seen? Most people won't.
We look for three things when we hire people. We look for intelligence, we look for initiative or energy, and we look for integrity.
And if they don't have the latter, the first two will kill you, because if you're going to get someone without integrity, you want them lazy and dumb.
Assess intelligence? Education, accomplishments, and skills are a good indication. Initiative and energy? Achievements, informal leadership roles, and a steady upward progression -- whether professional or personal -- are a good indication.
But integrity? On paper, that's hard to spot.
Most people want to look another person in the eye to get a sense of whether they will be trustworthy.
Even though, no matter how experienced or "good" we are at judging another person's character by how they look, recent research on loan decisions and subsequent loan repayment shows appearance in no way indicates trustworthiness.
(Well, maybe two aspects of appearance; more on that in a moment.)
Take the width-to-height ratio of a person's face. Most people think a pleasing width to height ratio (think, oh, Brad Pitt) indicates leadership and trustworthiness.
But no statistical relationship exists.
Most people also tend to think people who look like them are more trustworthy; study participants gave significantly higher "trustworthy" scores to people who had facial features similar to their own.
But similarity had no predictive power.
Want more? People tend to think attractive people are more trustworthy. Nope. That males are more trustworthy. Nope. That well-dressed people are more trustworthy. Nope. That people who maintain eye contact are more trustworthy. Nope.
Looking at people's faces didn't help participants make better decisions about a person's trustworthiness at all; in fact, the biases they brought with them -- that attractive, well-dressed people are more likely to be trustworthy -- caused them to make worse decisions.
(Unless they took, oddly enough, two things into account. Turns out individuals with "higher bodyweight" were more likely to repay their loans. The same was true for people wearing glasses.)
As the researchers write:
Subjects can extract some useful information from facial photos in predicting repayment behavior.
However, subjects have significant biases in their perceptions about how some facial features affect the repayment behavior (e.g., mouth width, facial resemblance with themselves, beauty, dressing code, body weight, and whether to wear glasses).
Add it all up, and appearance tells you nothing, unless you're silly enough to only hire "higher bodyweight" people who wear glasses.
In fact, appearance tells you less than nothing, because an unconscious bias or two may negatively influence your decision.
What does tell you something about the candidate's fit? Achievement. Enthusiasm. Work ethic. Solid interpersonal skills. A proven willingness to learn and grow.
So stop thinking you can judge the candidate book by its cover. Much as we like to think otherwise, we can't.
Because what a particular candidate looks like during the interview phase doesn't matter; all that matters is what they've done.
And what their talent, skill, and experience can do for you.