Is A Lack of “Executive Presence” Impeding Your Career?
A report from the Center for Work-Life Policy, a non-profit research organization recently found that though they are highly ambitious and motivated, Asian professionals are unable to reach senior positions at their companies. According to Asians in America: Unleashing the Potential of the ‘Model Minority’, sixty-three percent of Asian men feel stalled in their careers. Forty-one percent of Asian men said the bias issues they faced were severe enough that they’ve scaled back their work efforts and nearly twenty percent said they plan to quit within a year.
These biases, labeled as the “bamboo ceiling”, occur as Asians move up the corporate ladder and are held back from executive positions through the perception that they don’t have “executive presence”. This presence considers factors such as appearance, self-confidence, poise, authenticity and an individual’s ability to “look the part” as defined by the corporate culture.
The bamboo ceiling and this assumption that Asians lack executive presence brings up yet another set of criteria for which job candidates are assessed. Today job candidates are screened for not only their qualifications and skills but also a number of behavioral characteristics most candidates don’t consider, and for which many hiring managers don’t even realize they are subconsciously screening. These may include is the candidate “likable”, do they appear “healthy”, are they dressed appropriately and well groomed and now, do they have “executive presence?”
Job candidates should try to be aware of all the criteria for which they are now evaluated. Is your lack of self-confidence hurting your chances at securing that sought after leadership position as is allegedly occurring with Asian professionals? Are you discriminated against based on your weight or appearance because companies fear paying the health care costs associated with overweight individuals?
While no hiring manager may admit to eliminating a candidate for anything but a lack of qualified skills, a myriad of other issues influence the hiring manager’s decision. Actors with years of experience and training must still audition for roles for which they are suited based on criteria such as their age, weight, and height, not just their comedic and or dramatic ability. So too must qualified job candidates with years of experience now “audition” for executive positions based on a number of similar criteria that could make or break their role as superstar employee.