Can body size affect your job search?

On WordPress I follow the topic ‘Employment’ and came across the blog ‘Dieting To Get A Job’. The writer mentions their size doesn’t bother them that much but feel that losing some weight will benefit their job search.

This got me thinking, if a person is more than capable of doing the advertised job and they would fit in with the rest of the team would size really matter?  I’m most likely being somewhat naive here, being a particular size is part of fitting in with a team.

Size has always been a hot topic of conversation, you only have to look in the media to find the latest diet craze, or pictures of the latest female Hollywood star who has gained / shed weight.  Not to mention the discussions on obesity and how countries have to deal with subsequent problems. So is it any wonder these attitudes filter through into the world of job-hunting?

With my curiosity piqued I decided to look into this a bit more. Browsing through the search list on Google I came across articles relating to this topic.

In the article ‘Get a job at my size? Fat Chance?’ written back in May 2012, the lady in question had 160 interviews but no job offers, not due to her lack of skills but due to her size. ‘When she told me I wouldn’t be getting a second interview, I asked why. ‘The partners wouldn’t like you,’ she told me.’

It would seem that image alone is not the only deciding factor why employers are reluctant to take on a larger candidate, regardless of their skills.

Being overweight can lead to a variety of health related problems such as diabetes, heart disease, high cholesterol etc.  These can be detrimental to a person’s productivity and where it applies an increase in health insurance premiums.

The lady in the article Get a job at my size? Fat Chance?’ may have had other contributing factors to why she wasn’t suitable for all 160 jobs she applied for but felt strongly enough to believe that her weight was a factor. Like the writer of ‘Dieting To Get A Job’ both women have decided the only way to get that job is to lose a few pounds.

‘So after more than 18 months of constant rejections, I decided that there was only one way I was ever going to get another job, and that was by slimming back down to a normal size again.’

My question would be ‘what is a normal size’? A size 0 is not normal, but then the average dress size for a UK woman is 14-16.

It would seem that not only do we have to deal with gender bias, age bias, race bias (I’ve probably missed out some other bias), but now also have to contend with weight bias. How far are employers willing to go to find their super-duper candidate?

Has the illusion of the perfect candidate reached the point where we now take into consideration the size of a person’s waistline? At this point my imagination wandered and I started comparing this idea to the 90’s film Universal Soldier – The almost perfect super soldiers are ‘created’. Wonder how the ‘perfect candidate’ will be achieved, maybe the Hollywood blockbuster movie industry will have the answer.


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