When You’re Coveting That Corner Office, Looks Matter

By Gabrielle Karol

NEW YORK (Learnvest) — You can work hard, put in 200% every single day and log more hours than anyone else at the company.

But it turns out that may not be enough to get you the corner office — you also need to look the part.

As major corporations such as  Intel and Morgan Stanley start to recognize the importance of the “it factor” when it comes to employees at the management and executive levels, the practice of coaching executives (and wannabe execs) on appearance and presence is a growing business.

Stefanie Smith, head of Stratex Consulting, a New York City-based coaching firm, told The Wall Street Journal that 75% of her business consists of improving clients’ image — from how to dress better to how to appear more decisive in meetings. But beyond these “coachable” attributes, physical qualities — from weight to hair to facial structure — also play a big part in how executives are perceived. We take a look at seven shallow characteristics that may affect how competent you appear to co-workers. Prepare to be shocked!

What people look for in a male executive …

1. Slim, trim and fit
A study conducted by the Center for Creative Leadership found that execs with larger waistlines and higher body mass index numbers were perceived as being less effective. In fact, image consultant Amanda Sanders told The Wall Street Journal that carrying extra pounds can imply weakness or a “lack of control.”

The CCL study also showed that executives with BMIs of 25 and under (indicating a person of normal weight) got higher ratings for interpersonal skills and task performance than peers who had BMIs over 25. Additionally, only 5% of CEOs at top U.S. companies are technically obese, although 36% of men in the general population are obese.