According to a new study, when a job applicant wore a luxury label to an interview, respondents considered her a more suitable candidate.
As if job interviews weren't already hard enough on the nerves, a new study by the Journal of Business Research has confirmed what many sweaty-palmed interviewees may have feared: What you wear that day could play a role in determining whether you get the job. Tweet this
Not only that, it could also be a contributing factor in how much you earn.
The study's authors showed 150 students at a Korean university one of three videos depicting a woman interviewing for an internship with a movie agency. All three versions of the video were identical, with the exception of the logo shown on the woman's white polo shirt.
In one version, the logo was for luxury brand Louis Vuitton. In another, it was for fast-fashion label H&M. For the third video, the woman had no branding on her shirt.
According to the findings, when an applicant wore a luxury label to the interview, respondents considered her to be a more suitable candidate for the job. She was also more likely to earn a higher wage. Whereas 15.6 percent of respondents said the candidate wearing a Louis Vuitton logo should earn more than 13,000 won, or about $11.88 an hour, only 2.4 percent said the same for the candidate wearing the H&M brand.
Zero respondents said the woman wearing no logo should be paid more than 13,000 won.
"The higher perceived status of the wearer of a luxury brand (versus the wearer of no brand clothes that are otherwise identical) produces benefits in social interactions including preferential treatment and, sometimes, financial benefits," the study said.
Pearse McCabe, an executive with Dragon Rouge global brand strategy company, agreed that brands play a big role in expressing who a person is, and who they can aspire to be.
But that doesn't necessarily mean that job seekers should shell out thousands of dollars for the latest high-end fashions.
McCabe cautioned that people can't hide their true selves behind luxury labels, because people offer so many other signals when they communicate.
"Brands are just one factor in the way that we make decisions about people," he said.