Interviewers are only human and, while they will try to focus on the task at hand, it may be hard for them to remember you for the right reasons.

The theory behind the job interview is simple; you sit down with a potential employer, you discuss the role and how your experience fits and they use that to decide whether or not to hire you. However, your experience isn’t the only factor that will have an effect on your success in an interview. You also have to make sure that you don’t do something small that makes it difficult for the interviewer to focus on your answers.

Cpl’s most recent Quarterly Employment Monitor which found that 45% of employers would be negatively influenced if a candidate turned up to an interview with visible tattoos or body piercing. Interviewers are only human and, while they will try to focus on the task at hand, it may be hard for them to remember you over the distraction.
Let’s take a look at a few seemingly minor issues that could get a negative reaction from an interviewer.

Tattoos and piercings

Tattoos and piercings certainly don’t carry the same stigma that they used to but they can still be a problem in a job interview. It will, of course, depend on the role you are interviewing for but most interviewers will find it difficult to see past prominent facial tattoos or piercings. This is particularly true if the role requires you to meet with clients or customers. If at all possible, remove piercings and cover tattoos before the interview and let the interviewer focus on you and not ‘the guy with the pierced eyebrow.’


Like a prominent tattoo, particularly extravagant jewellery runs the risk of taking over the interviewer’s memory of you. While it is important to dress well for an interview, there is no need to overdo it. Just like the perfect interview suit, any jewellery you wear should be enough to make you look the part but then become completely irrelevant once you start talking.


How you sit in the interview could be a problem for some interviewers. It’s good to come across as relaxed and confident but not to the point that you slouch in the chair. While many interviewers will interpret that slouch as a reflection of your approach to work (laidback and sloppy) others will simply find it difficult to take your answers seriously. Sit up straight and deliver your answers in a way that shows you really care about how your potential employer sees you.

Body language

It’s not just the way you sit that could be a problem for an interviewer. Some body language tics can be difficult to ignore. If you gesticulate a lot when you talk or touch your nose every few second when you’re nervous, you need to do your best to curb those instincts.


For most people, person hygiene will never be an issue in an interview. However, interviewers will notice candidates who have bad personal hygiene. Bad breath, body odour and dirty or greasy hair or skin will all create a distraction and reflect badly on you as a candidate; for reasons that should be fairly obvious.


Speaking of smells, you really need to avoid wearing too much perfume. Even a very pleasant smell, if overdone, can be very distracting. No matter how much you might like your scent, if it’s overpowering the interviewer will spend the entire interview thinking about how quickly they can get away from you.


Finally, a classic piece of career advice, have a firm, but not too firm, handshake. If you don’t have a naturally good handshake, practice it on your friends. The first thing you will do in most interviews is shake the interviewer’s hand and nobody likes a limp handshake or to feel like the might lose a few fingers.

Each of these potential problems are easy to solve, just by being conscious of them you can make sure they don’t affect your interview. Put yourself in the interviewer’s position and ask who would you prefer to meet; the guy with the overpowering aftershave, limp handshake and bad breath or the girl who works for a competitor, is excited about the role and comes with a really strong track record?

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