The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) of the United States is famous for using a variety of hiring strategies to find agents who would be well-suited for spying. There were many strange and unique strategies among these. The following is a good example of a very strange, but simple and effective strategy.
First, put out a job advertisement on the newspaper. The ad tells people who are interested should come to a certain office at 7am on a certain day. The ad says nothing about what documents you need to bring, whether it is an interview or a test, or even what the job is. About a hundred applicants arrive on the day at 7am, but the office is empty with no employers or instructions. For two hours, no one comes and many impatient applicants complain that they fell for a prank and leave. An hour later, more people express frustration and leave, saying how rude the company is. By 1pm, about half the group has left, slamming the door behind them. By 5pm, only about a quarter remain. Finally, it becomes midnight. There are only one or two people left by this stage. These people are automatically hired.
What happens when an economy is going into a depression? Unemployment goes up, inflation goes up, housing markets tank… There are many (miserable) indicators of a waning economy, but none are as strange as the Hot Waitress Economic Index. Simply put, this index suggests that the worse the economy is doing, the more attractive the waitresses are on average.
Despite sounding incredibly shallow and sexist, there is sufficient data to support this theory. It can be explained by the fact that when the economy is doing fine, attractive women are more likely to be in higher paying jobs as they are favoured by employers (unfair, but statistically true). When the economy is doing poorly, unemployment rates rise and these attractive women are pushed down to low-paying jobs such as waitressing as actual skill becomes a higher priority when hiring. This causes an apparent increase in the overall attractiveness of waitresses in the country. Some studies suggest that the Hot Waitress Economic Index is even more accurate in predicting the state of the economy than unemployment as attractive people tend to be the first to earn jobs, acting as an immediate indicator for the economy. For example, when the economy dips out of the depression and starts to rise again, attractive people are the first to be re-hired into higher paying jobs, causing the Hot Waitress Economic Index to change before the unemployment rate does.
Interestingly, there is no data on how the economy affects the average attractiveness of waiters.