How Your Smile Affects Your Job And Career
We’d like to think that the basis for choosing to hire someone was based purely on ability or qualifications, but the reality is that our appearance also has an effect. Consider that the first impressions we make with people — socially or on the job — are our appearance.
Before we open our mouth to speak, we’ve already spoken.
The Appearance Speaks First
A recent study revealed that those with facial imperfections have additional hurdles to overcome during a job interview. Two researchers, Dr. Mikki Hebl and Dr. Juan Madera, discovered that during a job interview, the interviewer was often distracted by disfigurements or qualities of the face. Unaware, they rated those candidates as less qualified because they remembered less of what the interviewee had said and more of what they looked like.
“When evaluating applicants in an interview setting, it’s important to remember what they are saying,” said Hebl. “Our research shows if you recall less information about competent candidates because you are distracted by characteristics on their face, it decreases your overall evaluations of them.”
It is well-documented that having visible tattoos or other appearance-related characteristics that set you apart from what is expected or considered normal for certain jobs can also work against you. While we can’t (and maybe shouldn’t) take drastic measures to alter our face to get a job, there is a simple and reasonable way to work against these reactions to appearance.
“When looking at another person during a conversation, your attention is naturally directed in a triangular pattern around the eyes and mouth,” Madera said. Your mouth is getting noticed, as are your teeth.
Let Your Smile Work For You
Your smile conveys friendliness. It makes you approachable. If you are uncomfortable with the appearance of your teeth, it will affect how you smile. Perhaps your teeth are yellow, or they are not as straight as you would like. If your smile is stilted, it will affect how you respond to others in the workplace, or while interviewing for a job.
Think of your smile as your secret weapon. A sincere smile at a job interview or in a meeting with a client says so much about you. It is one of the first — and repeated — things you show another person. It’s how you talk when you’re not talking. It’s a powerful thing, a smile, and if you are confident about your smile, you’ll smile confidently. You might not be able to change a scar or other imperfection, but a brilliant smile can do wonders to overcome that.
Whatever else the interviewer or client might notice, a gleaming white and sincere smile is hard to ignore, and hard to forget. Something as simple as professionally whitened teeth or veneers could drastically improve your confidence and, in turn, your career. Remember, an investment in your smile is a good one.