When applicants are on the nose

A challenge for career development practitioners is to find delicate, tactful ways to let a job applicant know that aspects of their personal grooming and hygiene could be a problem when they front up to a job interview. Given people’s tendency to reach rapid impressions within seconds of meeting a person, you do not want that impression to be based on a negative visual, aural or olfactory detail.

Most people are likely to feel uncomfortable telling you you have bad body odour or breath. If you see people leaning away from you, spraying perfume or air freshener when you leave the room, leaving cans of deodorant on your desk, offering you mints, these could be subtle and not so subtle hints.

If you have an interview lined up then looking your best is a must.

Here is a checklist of grooming and hygiene details to help you prepare for a job interview.

  • If you haven’t had a hair cut in the last month, now is the time to do so.
  • If your clothes are stained, wash them or get them dry cleaned.
  • If your clothes do not fit well, buy or borrow something that makes you look professional.
  • Shower regularly with soap and use a deodorant.
  • Clean your teeth after eating.
  • Floss daily.
  • Shave and trim facial hair.
  • Avoid the quirky tie.
  • Learn how to knot a tie well.
  • Seek help from an image consultant.
  • Consider whether visible body decorations will be acceptable in the role.
Dr Ann Villiers, career coach, writer and author, is Australia’s only Mental Nutritionist specialising in mind and language practices that help people build flexible thinking, confident speaking and quality connections with people.