Regardless of how you choose to dress in your personal life, if you're a woman and you're looking for a job -- or taking profile photos for a professional networking site like LinkedIn -- the last thing you would do is wear a low-cut top.
Even though that might be the first thing you want to do.
One study shows that women who are wearing low-cut tops in the photo they submit with a job application were almost twenty times as likely to get an interview than those who wore more conventional clothing.
Dr. Sevag Kertechian, a researcher at Paris-Sorbonne University, responded to 200 job ads by submitting fictional applications for two women. In each case each woman had nearly identical qualifications. On paper they were basically the same... yet applications submitted by the woman dressing more provocatively resulted in 62 more interview offers.
Granted those applications were for sales jobs, so maybe the prospective employer felt a less buttoned-up salesperson might be more effective?
Possibly so... but when Kertechian conducted the same experiment in response to accounting jobs, the women who dressed more provocatively received 68 more interview offers than their conservative counterparts.
"Our results showed interesting trends as low-cut dresses significantly influenced the choice of the recruiters, even for accounting positions," Kertechian said. "Regardless of the job, whether customer-facing saleswoman or office-based accountant the candidate with the low cut clothing received more positive answers."
Maybe a slightly more provocative photo captured the recruiters' attention better and caused them to look more closely at the candidate's qualifications and experience. Or maybe norms regarding "professional" clothing have changed.
Or maybe all the recruiters were men (and if so, that doesn't say much for my gender.)
Either way, it's something to think about, whether you're applying for a job or hiring employees. No matter how hard we try, we all bring certain biases to the process.
The key is to look past assumptions and preconceived notions and make sure we hire the very best person for the job.
After all, it's not how a person looks that matters -- it's what they do.