Search firms and employers use all manner of talent acquisition systems, candidate screening techniques, behavioral science and even gimmicks with varying degrees of success to pick the right people to run businesses. 

At JohnGSelf Associates, we rely on an adaptive variation of Bradford Smart’s Topgrading© candidate screening interview process, DiSC© behavior and values assessments, in-depth vetting and extensive use of video summaries of applicant interviews to help our clients identify leaders to run health systems, hospitals and other healthcare provider businesses.

Then there is the tenor of a candidate’s voice, their height, and the size of their waistline, all important variables for consideration if you read and believe the latest research.

Lucy Kellaway

Lucy Kellaway

No, really.  Apparently there is a hip new strain of academic inquiry called biological economics which sets out to correlate the aforementioned physical traits with monetary reward. “A drop of a mere 22 Hertz in voice frequency implies a company that is $440 million bigger, a pay packet $187,000 higher and an extra 151 days on the job.”

“There have been a huge number of studies done in recent years and last week I slogged my way through a lot of them,” Ms. Kellaway continues.  “The more I read, the more disturbed I got at the conclusion they all point to:  the tall, the powerful, the gorgeous, and the low-voiced do rather well.  The short, fat, feeble and squeaky voiced do a great deal less so.”

The best known studies have been on height, writes Ms. Kellaway, an FT associate editor and Management Columnist.  “A 2005 survey revealed that Fortune 500 CEOs were on average 6 feet tall, a whopping 2.5 inches taller than the average American.”  Drawing on a USA Today report, Ms. Kellaway wrote that when that paper asked American CEOs if they would rather be two inches taller or have a full head of hair, almost all favored height over hair.

Speaking of hair, a Wharton School of Business study revealed that bald men are perceived by others as being more dominant, Ms. Kellaway wrote.  

“Hair on the chin produces not power but trust.  Referring to a Journal of Marketing and Communications, Ms. Kellaway wrote that the beard elicited more trust except when selling men’s underwear, then it was best avoided.”

Now I remember why I did not pursue a career in biology, economics or market research.