You’ve practiced answering questions in the mirror fifty times. You just got your suit back from the dry cleaners. You leave your house 10 minutes early to be punctual. You take a deep breath before going into the building. You are ready for this.
You just forgot one small detail: Your teeth.
Job interviews are incredibly important for any career. The interviewer is weighing every answer and sorting whether or not you will be fit for the job in question. And while you may ace the test, there’s more to an interview than simply asking questions. Let’s take a look at why your appearance – most importantly, your smile – has become such an important aspect of job interviews.
1. What Employers Are Looking For
Whenever people first meet – for an interview or otherwise – the first impression for both of them is made within the first 5 minutes of interacting. An employer will judge the person they are interviewing on their etiquette, demeanor, knowledge, energy and, most of all, appearance.
Even by simply walking down the street, we make assumptions about people based on the way they look. This applies even more so to a job interview. The way a person dresses is often connected with their responsibility and their maturity level. For instance, someone who is not well-groomed may appear to be lazy or not take themselves – or the potential job – seriously.
Take a look at this survey conducted by the Wisconsin Department of Industry, Labor and Human Relations on the appearance of employees:
- 95% of the employers interviewed said a job-seeker’s personal appearance affected the employer’s opinion of that applicant’s suitability for the job.
- 91% said they believed dress and grooming reflected the applicant’s attitude toward the company.
- 61% said dress and grooming had an effect on subsequent promotions, as well.
Obviously, you want to look nice and not like a slob, but it is also important to keep in mind the job you are interviewing for. If you’ve applied for a job at a highly professional workplace, you will want to avoid dressing in casual clothing.
Job applicants with clean, bright smiles will appear to have more credibility and are much more likely to be hired – especially for a sales position, which is the visible side of the company – than job applicants with broken or stained teeth.
The Kelton Perception Study states that candidates who have straight teeth are 45% more likely to be hired than people with crooked teeth.
2. Prepare Your Teeth Before, During and After the Interview
Before the Interview
- Cover the Basics. The basic things you can do to ensure your teeth are clean is to brush and floss before the interview. Also, remember to use mouthwash to keep bad breath away!
- Brighten Your Smile. If you have stained teeth, try to whiten your teeth a few days before the interview.
- Eat Something! It’s always a good idea to eat something before the interview so that you aren’t starving or your stomach doesn’t growl obnoxiously. It is important, however, to eat something that will be beneficial to your teeth!
- High Protein Foods
- Dairy Products
- Cereal Grains
- Sugary Items
- Chewy or Hard Candy
- Dark Drinks (Soda, Coffee, Wine)
Do a Teeth Check! Before the interview, check the mirror quickly to make sure your smile looks great.
During the Interview
- Don’t Chew Gum. It may be a distraction or just unprofessional if you are in an interview with gum in your mouth. Be sure to spit it out beforehand.
- Smile! Smiling is endearing in several ways, but if anything, it will show your excitement or politeness to the employer.
After the Interview
- Don’t Forget About the Importance of Appearance. It could feel like you no longer need to care about what you look like if you have the job, but that is not the case! Now more than ever is the time that you need to focus on how you present yourself in the workplace. Drastically changing how you appear from the interview could affect your trust with your new boss.
We hope you have found this guide insightful and helpful as you prepare for your next job interview or promotion! Remember to keep your oral hygiene up-to-date to make a lasting impression.
What are some of your favorite interview tips for job applicants?