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 Published 24.04.2012
Text by: Darren Robinson

First impressions

Job Doctor: Each Tuesday Darren Robinson answers questions about career development and finding a new position.

First impressions Photo(s) : Stethoscopes/Creative Commons

Dear Job Doctor,

Are there any “right” or “wrong” colours to wear during a job interview? For example, I’ve heard that the colour red has a positive influence when you are interviewed by men and the colour pink when you are interviewed by women.

Indeed, what you wear during an interview is important and your presentation will be evaluated, even if it is subconsciously. Most research agrees that 55 percent of first impressions are based on overall appearance, 38 percent of first impressions are based on body language and seven percent of first impressions are based on what we say and how we say it. 

Ninety-three percent is non-verbal! 

Research also suggest it takes between seven and 17 seconds before an opinion is formed about you and worryingly the Association for Psychological Science suggests that it only takes 1/10th of a second! 

The meaning of colours

One of the most comprehensive and fascinating guides to the psychological meaning of colours in an business environment can be found here.

The guide makes small references from a “western” or “Anglo-Saxon” perspective. With the large cultural diversity in Luxembourg, the guide does not necessarily consider the need to accommodate cultural influences when selecting the right colour. 

Keep it simple

Different colours may affect people in different ways. It’s possible that someone may have experienced something involving a particular colour and as a result may react very differently than others. As a result, it’s impossible to predict what affect the colours you choose will have on the interviewer. 

For the Luxembourg market, I recommend the advice Monster provides about colours for interviews. 

Taking a conservative approach to colours is likely to ensure that at the very least you do not create a negative impression at the interview stage. 

Consider asking people in your network who work for the company and also if you have engaged a recruitment firm to search on your behalf, ask them for advice, part of their service is likely to provide interview guidance and support.

Darren Robinson is managing director of Badenoch & Clark Luxembourg, the largest staffing and recruitment firm in the Grand Duchy.

Have a question for the Job Doctor? Send an email to news@delano.lu with “Job Doctor” in the subject line. Your inquiry will be confidential: the Job Doctor will not be given your name, nor will it be published anywhere by Delano.

Keywords:   HR, Job Doctor, career, advice

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