How much does appearance matter in job interviews?

Tatler editor Kate Reardon sparked controversy last week when she suggested having confidence and clean hair in a job interview is more important than having an impeccable CV.

Read her full interview with The Observer here.

It brings to mind a rather unnerving question: Are employers more interested in the way you look than with your CV?

A quick Google search will show you survey after survey that suggests being good looking gives you an advantage in getting hired.

Disheartened? Don’t despair just yet my hideous friends – the truth is many factors contribute to whether or not someone gets a job and your ugliness is just one of many factors that might be holding you back.

What we can tell you for sure is the impression you give when you meet potential employers at an interview is crucial because your new boss needs to feel you’re the right fit for their company.

Now, before you start explaining that you’re applying for a job in a blue collar industry and a suit and tie isn’t really necessary, these are general guidelines – please treat each situation on its merits.

Bearing that in mind, here are some quick tips on how to dress for job interviews!

1. Dress to impress, keeping it conservative

It’s wise to keep your dress code conservative and formal – better to be overdressed than underdressed.

Girls, think suits, blouses, tights and mid-length skirts or dresses. Boys, think suits, belts, ties, black socks and smart shoes.

Leave the polo shirts, sports shoes and low necklines at home.

homeless businessman

2. Take out facial piercings and cover those tats

Unless you’re applying to be a tattoo artist or professional piercer, lose the lip-ring – it doesn’t scream barrister. Barista maybe if you are lucky.

Avoid heavy make-up and overdone nail art as the last thing you want is to come across as tacky.

Shave or trim facial hair so it looks neat and tidy.

3. Cut accessories down to a minimum

An interview is a professional environment, not a place to show off your latest bling.

Save the flashy handbags and big hoop earrings for the night out when you’ll be celebrating getting the job.

4. You don’t have to wear heels girls. Honestly!

It’s a topic of endless discussion, but if you aren’t comfortable in heels ladies then don’t wear them.

Tottering about like Bambi on ice doesn’t give off the best impression so don’t force yourself into stilettos. That goes for you too boys!

Here’s an excellent, informative article on what kinds of flats are best for women going to an interview.

And, one for the lads: Make sure your shoes are clean, polished and professional looking. So no crocs please.

If you’re looking for a more thorough rundown of what to wear, click here!

So appearances really do matter then?

We’re not denying it – with today’s competitive job market, coming across well during an interview is pivotal. And how you look will set the tone.

But – and it’s a big but – we certainly don’t agree that looks are more important than CVs. Nothing beats the good old-fashioned combination of a great CV and a friendly interview manner.

Shining your shoes and getting a manicure will not see you leapfrog a candidate with five A*s at A-Level and a first at Chemical Engineering at Cambridge.

So our advice would be to worry about your CV first. Without that, you won’t get the chance to show your potential interviewer your beautiful well-groomed face.

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