An employability research project from the University of Cambridge BFS Centre* states that natural scents and ‘scent matching’ play an important part in recruiters selecting candidates. Scent matching is the process of choosing a partner based on natural smells and pheromones. Professor Priscilla White from the Centre said:
‘We were interested in the process of attraction through smell. People choose their romantic partners through hormones and smells that help to develop the human species – it isn’t a huge step to the selection of employees using the same method.’
The study asked people to rub cloths over their bodies – in particular their armpits – and seal them in containers. Employers were then asked to smell the cloths and make decisions about hiring individuals based on scent alone. Candidates were then interviewed whilst the interviewers wore pegs on their noses and candidates were ranked.
‘Interestingly, once the results were known to the employers from both rounds, their perspectives on the interview responses changed. Surprise, surprise, they altered their rankings to place the ‘better smelling’ candidates higher.’
In one instance a candidate was placed 5th at interview, but was offered the job ahead of other candidates because ‘he smelt a bit like strawberries’.
*Centre for Bovine Faecal Studies