The tried and true cliche, first impressions last a lifetime, is certainly relevant in terms of a person’s disposition, but new research shows that it also is extremely important in terms of appearance as well, especially if you’re interviewing for a new job.

A study released by the American Association of Orthodontics in October 2014 surveyed a group of HR representatives responsible for hiring staff for commercial companies. Photos of subjects with various malocclusions were shown paired with a photoshopped version of the same image in which the nonideal characteristics of their smiles had been corrected, such as gaps and snaggle teeth. When asked about personal perceptions of the photos side by side, in regards to honesty, efficiency, and intelligence, the HR representatives consistently reported that they would be more likely to hire the subject with corrected dental aesthetics. While perceptions of honesty and efficiency were not impacted by the dental impairments, having a straight or ideal smile certainly worked in a subjects favor.

This, combined with the professional presentation of oneself during the interview process certainly goes against what we’ve been taught in grade school. Though we are taught not to judge a book by its cover, it seems as if an ideal smile does help improve a strangers perception of your intelligence, and therefore hiring managers and their decisions in bringing on new talent to their business. Approaching the issue on the basis of hireability, it is logical that one’s appearance plays into how companies value an employee’s presentation of themselves as an extenuation of their representation for the company. In this regard, it is important to not only evaluate your outfit for an interview wisely, but to also consider personal hygiene and appearance.

Other studies have shown that wearing glasses increases others’ perception of your intelligence, as does general dress. This is important for those attempting to land a new job, or for someone who must interact on a professional level on a daily basis, such as salesmen /saleswomen and lawyers. Mind these perceptions because they could directly impact your influence, not only in your professional life, but in your personal life as well. For this reason, it is important in understanding how others perceive you, as well as how you perceive yourself. A good tip for improving the way in which others view you is to take a step back and look at yourself. Taking a picture of everyday may help you see what you’ve been missing before, whether that means your dress could look a little more put together, or if you could use a hair cut.

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