Interviewers make all sorts of snap judgments about a candidate’s character based solely on their grooming regime, according to a survey of British bosses.
One in four said that chipped nail varnish quickly takes the shine off an applicant’s chances, as it makes them appear nervous or unprepared.
A fifth of managers see split ends as a sign of laziness, and one in six said smudged mascara made them fear hiring a “party animal” who would be quick to escape the office for the bar.
A deep tan leads bosses to the conclusion that a candidate would gladly abandon their duties for the pleasures of a beach break, while bright red lipstick, heavily pencilled eyebrows and overpowering perfume are considered indicative of an overconfident and cocky personality.
The common scenario of lipstick smudged on to teeth apparently suggests carelessness, while foundation that hasn’t been blended properly is seen to highlight a lack of attention to detail.
Even going for a natural look isn’t without risks, as certain bosses believe an absence of mascara indicates an emotional wreck who worries that it would all be cried off within hours.
But it seems women cannot win – with an immaculately made-up face making some recruiters fear this candidate means business and will be snapping at their heels for the next promotion.
Sara Stern of Debenhams, which carried out the survey of 2,000 executives, said: “Clearly the application of make-up and fragrance is just as important as making sure your outfit is clean and ironed ahead of an interview.
“It seems a more natural-looking middle ground is the way to go for sure-fire success.”