When it comes to job hunting and interviewing, everyone understands the importance of a positive first impression. From clothing to hair to resume, employment consultants and recruiters agree that a positive appearance can often be the deciding factor among qualified candidates. But appearance attributes extend beyond last-minute, pre-interview prepping and grooming.

Your smile strongly influences how you will be received—and remembered.

A healthy, attractive, bright smile conveys a friendly, team-spirited confidence that is immediately perceived as a positive and preferred trait.

Conversely, a crooked, stained, dull smile can turn off potential employers, leaving them with the impression that you really don’t care about your appearance. Nationwide, studies conducted by companies in the medical, research, and employment industries concluded a startling fact:

A misaligned, dark, unhealthy smile can actually cost you a job.

The studies and reports confirm that teeth that are chipped, crooked, uneven, misaligned, or discolored will negatively and significantly affect your ability to interview well and find employment. This is especially true for those seeking high-visibility positions like sales, or higher-paying positions where frequent person-to-person contact or management is required.

Of course, a hiring manager, HR manager, or recruiter may never tell you this out of respect or fear of some type of discrimination claim. Which is why I felt offering this advice might be helpful.

Here is a snapshot of what just a few of these smile studies found:

• Invisalign® hired Kelton (a research, insights & strategy company) to conduct a study to determine the value a smile has in the interview process) According to that study: “job candidates with straight teeth were 45% more likely to get hired than those with crooked teeth.”

• NBC News published an article a few years back on the effect bad teeth can have on job hunting success. In that article, Dentist and Population Scientist Susan Hyde was quoted as saying: “In America, most people-–including employers-–make instant judgments based on appearance, including someone’s smile and teeth. If you want to portray someone as being wicked, they have missing front teeth. If they’re ignorant, they have buck teeth.”

The article also offered words from Dr. Lindsay Robinson, President of the California Dental Association: “If (job candidates) seek a job that requires them to interact socially with the public, it’s almost impossible for them to get that job…customer service jobs, good entry-level jobs, they’re not available to people who lack the basic ability to smile...”

The article went on to explain that with corrective dental care, applicants were twice as likely to get hired.

• An article published in Rice University News stated: “Looks do matter...the bottom line is that how your face looks can significantly influence the success of an interview…”

 An article published by Zip Recruiter interviewed Ramon Santillan, Interview Consultant and founder of Persuasive Interview. According to Mr. Santillan: “Smiling (during a job interview) helps us determine that the person we are dealing with is friendly and possibly a team player”

The importance of a smile really cannot be overstated:

A 2001 study published in the Journal of Social Psychology confirmed the importance of a smile, stating that smiles go beyond conveying information, influencing the behavior of those viewing the smile: The article explains:

“…Another function of smiling (and one that anecdotal evidence supports) is that it enhances our attractiveness…the presence of a smile may provide (the brain) with an important signal that a reward is or is not attainable.”

The best way to leave a job interview smiling is to go into it with a healthy one! 

If you are in the process of looking for a job or are considering a career change soon, I urge you to make a “good look in the mirror” part of your preparation process.

If your smile isn’t as bright, straight, or sparkling as it could be, then please consider calling Advanced Cosmetic Dentistry to schedule a free smile consultation. Beyond improved physical health, a beautiful smile is an investment in your future that will pay personal and professional dividends for many years to come.