While most human resource professionals pride themselves on using nondiscriminatory methods to hire the most qualified candidates, according to some experts, physical appearances often make a difference.

During a recent interview with the Kansas City Star, Southern Illinois University associate professor of psychology Lynn Bartels said that her study showed that the weight of applicants had an effect. Bartel's study involved 542 participants and had them look at four different candidates, – half of them at normal weight, the other half obese. She said that the heavier candidates were assigned to tasks where they would be out of the public eye.

She states that there are some assumptions that people make when it comes to over weight people.

"If you appear to take good care of yourself and have an active lifestyle, you may be able to detract from the stereotype of being sedentary or lazy," Bartels told the paper.

Some local governments have even passed legislation to ensure heavier people aren't subject to discrimination. Futurity reports that six cities in the United States have laws that don't allow employers to take weight into account.

Content provided by executive search organization, MRINetwork.

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