The Facial Features That Get You Ahead in the Workplace


Which face would you rather hire? Pictured here is the same woman before rhinoplasty (left) and after rhinoplasty (right). (Photo courtesy of Dr. William Portuese)

It’s been well reported that putting your best face forward in a job interview can help nab a position.

Now, a new study reveals how the increasing popularity of cosmetic surgery plays into it. The findings show that certain procedures really do improve competitive perception in the work place, while others have little to no effect.

Conducted by, the survey of 400 men and women had participants view photos before cosmetic surgery was performed, while the other half viewed after photos. No one was aware they were viewing “before and after” photos, or that cosmetic surgery was even involved at all.

Survey-takers rated each photo on five qualities that says will get you hired: being competitive, motivated, trustworthy, creative and friendly. Each photo was rated on how much the subject looked like the stated adjective on a scale of 1 (not) to 5 (extremely). One photo was used in both surveys as a control; both groups scored that photo the same way across all qualities.

The photo subjects were Caucasian women between the ages of 30 to 60, and were chosen because they’re the dominant audience on RealSelf.

Three procedures stood out as having the most positive effect.

Subjects who had Voluma filler (which is injected into the cheeks to address volume loss in the mid-face), a nose job or chin implant scored significantly higher in workplace perception.

Related: What Plastic Surgery Looks Like Around the World


A woman before receiving a chin implant (left) and after receiving the chin implant (right). (Photo courtesy of Dr. Scott E. Kasden)

On the other side, Botox injections to blast wrinkles and eyelid surgery made no difference in how people were judged in the workplace.

Voluma patients saw the most dramatic increase across the board in all qualities, in this order: trustworthy, competitive, creative, friendly and motivated. Subjects with nose jobs were especially seen as more competitive and motivated afterwards, while those with chin implants were perceived as more motivated and trustworthy.

Related: The Secret Male Cosmetic Surgery Trend


A woman before receiving Voluma (left) and after receiving Voluma (right). (Photo courtesy of Dr. Kris M. Reddy)

While the study certainly doesn’t mean that plastic surgery is any kind of requirement for landing a job (we’re going to hedge our bets on experience and the ability to produce results), it does provide some insight into whether a change in appearance can really give you an edge – a reason that many plastic surgeons say brings patients through the door in the first place.

In spite of their excellent credentials, knowledge and seniority, many employees are concerned that an older look will make them appear outdated in a society that increasingly values youth and the vigor it brings to a workplace, says Manhattan dermatologic surgeon, Ronald Shelton, MD.

“It’s also a social issue of feeling more comfortable around the water cooler and fitting in, rather than feeling like they’re the den mother or father,” he adds.

However, most patients don’t want to look like they’re desperately hanging on to age 25, says Shelton – the trend is that people usually want to appear as less tired, more energized and vibrant versions of their current selves.

“Most of my patients are stepping away from looking overfilled or trying to look too young and unnatural,” says Shelton. “They don’t want all their lines removed. They’ve earned them.”

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