Dirty nails, creased shirts and messy hair rank as biggest turnoffs amongst HR professionals – with 70% admitting these would seriously affect a candidate’s chances of getting a job!

A national survey recently carried out by Matrix Recruitment Group polled over 200 Human Resource professionals across a variety of fields including Engineering, Financial Services, Hospitality, IT, Hardware, Manufacturing, Medical, Pharmaceutical, Retail, Food and FMCG. The survey investigated the area of appearance and how Irish professionals present themselves in an interview situation. When asked to rank their biggest turnoffs when meeting prospective employees, HR professionals revealed that dirty fingernails, messy or unkempt hair and creased clothing are their biggest turnoffs. 70% of those surveyed admitted that these turnoffs could be the deciding factor when selecting the successful candidate.

It seems Ryan Tubridy was right to ditch the tie on TV recently, with 62.1% of HR professionals stating that a tie is not required in their own workplace. However, over 50% of those surveyed revealed wearing a shirt and tie to an interview is still very important and if you want to impress your potential employer even further, it seems the colour navy is the way to go. 42.9% of those surveyed stated that navy is the most professional colour to wear at an interview with 36.8% associating this colour with leadership.

The survey revealed some interesting colour and personality associations. For example, 62% of those surveyed associate the colour red with aggression. We associate brighter and sunnier colours with happiness – but it is important to take note of which colours not to wear at interview stage. The majority of respondents felt that both yellow (35.4%) and orange (30.4%) were colours best to be avoided but interestingly these are the colours that are associated with creativity.

Another popular argument in relation to job interviews is the visibility of bodyart and facial hair. Over 50% of those surveyed admitted that tattoos and piercings would not have an impact on the candidate’s progression to the next stage of the interview and over 90% felt that facial hair would not play a factor in the candidate’s progression either. It was also interesting to see that 40.8% of HR professionals stated that wearing a low cut top to an interview would not affect the candidate’s chances of getting the job.

Following the results of the survey, Shane Kilboyle from Matrix Recruitment’s Dublin Marketing team gave his insights,‘As a nationwide recruitment agency, our consultants conduct interviews with candidates on a daily basis and we felt it was important to carry out this survey to give jobseekers a clearer picture of HR professionals’ likes and dislikes in terms of appropriate dress sense at interviews. It was particularly interesting to see that failing to present yourself appropriately can have such a significant impact on your chances of getting a job. These findings back up what we would advise to our candidates ahead of meeting with prospective employers.’

If Matrix Recruitment has taught us anything from this recent survey, it is to look smart, neat and tidy. It is better to show your creative side through your personality and experiences, rather than through your dress sense.

Matrix Recruitment Group provide recruitment, HR support and career guidance services nationwide, with offices based in Dublin, Waterford, Athlone, Galway and Carlow. For more information please visit,

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