You think that flurry of rejections in your inbox is down to a 'lack of experience' or the 'high calibre' of other candidates'? The truth could actually be within your control...
We asked six top HR managers for their recruitment beauty no-nos. From fake tan to full-on falsies, here are the make-up mistakes you won’t make at a job interview again…
1. Too much fake tan. No one is saying you have to channel a Wednesday Addams look but a subtle glow is as far as you should go.
The experts say: ‘I make it a rule not to hire anyone layered in fake tan. It looks as if they have too much time to invest in their looks.’
Top tip: Use tan sparingly and make sure you apply it a few days before the interview so you have time to tidy up mistakes. For your face, brush bronzer lightly onto any areas which would catch the sun.
2. Paint by number brows. The stark TOWIE brow isn’t appreciated in the world of work. Save it for nights out and go for a more natural look for the interview.
The experts say: ‘I had a girl come in with jet-black eyebrows that were entirely pencilled in. Given the ‘scouse brow’ is so widely mocked, it made me wonder if she had any social awareness.’
Top tip: Only go one shade darker than your natural colour and, as with hair dye, never go for black. While brow powders might feel subtle, you don’t want to be worrying about your eyebrows running down your face if you get flustered so go with a soft pencil.
3. Full-on falsies. It’s a look that splits opinion. They can look pretty and natural but to be safe and save them for your next night on the town.
The experts say: ‘They’re instantly distracting. When I’m sitting across from a potential employee and their eyes are framed with fluttering black fans, I just can’t connect with them.’
Top tip: Tone down the look with some volumising mascara or semi-permanent lash extensions.
4. Wet-look locks (and not in a trendy way). You wouldn’t turn up to a date with greasy hair so the same should apply for a potential future employer.
The experts say: ‘I once had to tell a female employee to wash her hair because a client had made a complaint. It was not only seen as below-standard work attire but also a matter of hygiene.’
Top tip: If you don’t have the time (or money) to schedule a blow dry into your interview prep, freshen up you hair with a good quality dry shampoo.
5. Say no to experimental dye jobs. Considering a vivid dip-dye or a Chloe Norgaard-inspired dye job? Sadly, we have to accept that, while some hair, beauty and fashion trends translate to the office (See: A-line skirts, separates, sweaters), others are best left on the catwalk.
The experts say: ‘The recent trend for pastel and dip-dyed hair does not belong in an office. We actively encourage individuality in our teams but we must be confident that clients will take our employees seriously.’
Top tip: If you’re determined to have an edgy ‘do, keep it low-key with a section at the back or tips which can satiate your urge for colour and be concealed if need be.
6. Talon show. As luck would have it, natural nails are this season’s trend.
The experts say: ‘Our written code of presentation even states that our employees can not have overly long nails. Not only are they impractical but the risk of injury from them snapping is not something we’re prepared to cover. And then there are the hygiene issues.’
Top tip: This season’s shape is pointed, which makes nails look longer, but keep them pretty and natural with a nude varnish.
Though an interview is a time to stand out from other candidates and show employers what you’re really about, it may not be the time to explore the more outlandish beauty trends. For that, there’s always the Christmas party…
Looking for more career inspo? It’s not too late to book tickets for Marie Claire’s @ Work Live, in association with Cointreau and Next. A one-day event on 23 April 2016, featuring advice, tips and inspiration from incredible speakers.