How Important is Appearance in a Job Interview/

Many people know that most hiring decisions are made in the first 10 seconds of the interview and then the interviewer gather information to confirm their first impression. So appearance does matter. 

Research shows the validity of the “What is beautiful is good stereotype and that people judge attractive individuals more positively. In my book SNAP Making the Most of First Impressions, Body Language and Charisma I share that the four first impression factors are Credibly, Likeability, Attractiveness and Power and it’s interesting that attractive people are often perceived as having the other three factors. In terms of “Appearance” If someone is well dressed and well groomed, it gives them credibility. If there dress is high end (expensive) and high status, and or they give power cues, like taking up space verbally and visually, and giving extended eye contact we typically perceive them as powerful. And if they smile sincerely and give off other warm cues we perceive them as likable. And by the way all of those assessments can be done in the limbic system in as little as 1/300th of a second.

Here is some of the scientific data.
Substantial empirical evidence and three meta-analyses have firmly established the existence and validity of a "what-is- beautiful-is-good stereotype" (e.g., Dion, Berscheid, & Walster, 1972; Eagly et al, 1991; Feingold, 1992; Jackson et al., 1995). For example, meta-analyses by Eagly et al. (1991) and Feingold (1992) showed that attractiveness has (a) a strong effect on perceptions of social competence, social skills, and sexual warmth, (b) a moderate effect on perceptions of intellectual competence, potency, adjustment, dominance, and general mental health, and (c) a weak effect on perceptions of integrity and concern for others. In addition, sex-of-target differences were observed for the perceptions of sexual warmth and intellectual competence. More specifically, the effects of attractiveness on perceptions of sexual warmth were stronger for women than for men (Feingold, 1992). However, the effects of attractiveness on perceptions of intellectual competence were stronger for men than for women (Jackson et al., 1995).

Furthermore, more recent meta-analyses (Langlois et al., 2000) have shown that (a) following actual interaction with others, perceivers judge attractive individuals more positively (e.g., in terms of interpersonal competence, occupational competence, social appeal, adjustment) and treat them more favorably (e.g., visual/ social attention, positive interaction, reward, help/cooperation, acceptance) than less attractive individuals, and (b) attractive individuals experience more positive outcomes in life (e.g., occupational success, popularity, dating experience, sexual experience, physical health) than less attractive individuals."

I am an expert in body language and first impressions with degrees in nonverbal communication, and the author of 8 books including my book SNAP Making the Most of First Impressions Body Language and Charisma.

Patti Wood, MA - The Body Language Expert. For more body language insights go to her website at Check out Patti's website for her new book "SNAP, Making the Most of First Impressions, Body Language and Charisma" at