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May 23, 2014

Looking for a Career? Get a White Shirt

  • 83% of employers say the wrong clothes can cost you the job.
  • A quarter of young adults think wearing jeans to an interview is acceptable.
  • Only half of students polled owned a white shirt.

As thousands of newly-qualified students begin the search for a career this month employers have warned that the wrong choice of clothes at an interview can mean they’ve lost the job before they utter a single word.


More than eight out of 10 employers believe that a simple, plain white shirt is their preferred choice for interviewees.

And they’ve admitted that the wrong choice of wardrobe could be enough to cost a potential candidate the job.

A survey of 2,016 Brits by Glowhite manufacturers Dr. Beckmann has revealed an astonishing 83% of employers say candidates wearing clean, white shirts to interviews are at an immediate advantage at job interviews.

Yet, worringly, almost half of students polled admitted that they rarely wear white shirts to interviews.

Blue shirts and even multi-coloured ‘fashionable’ shirts are the new first two interview choices of 18-22 year old students when going to a job interview, the survey has revealed – immediately putting the hopeful candidate at a disadvantage.

Employers say clean white shirts with crisp collars suggest a candidate is organised, business-like and pays attention to detail – the three most sought after qualities in job interviews.

Yet only half of those student candidates polled even owned a plain white shirt, let alone selected it for job interviews.

An astonishing 24% of the young adults polled even admitted they believe it is “acceptable” to wear jeans to a job interview, as long as it is coupled with a shirt.

Acclaimed behavioural psychologist Donna Dawson believes many young job candidates could be excluding themselves from job selection before they’ve even opened their mouth in a job interview.

She said:

“In the busy working world that we now inhabit, it is even truer that ‘first impressions are the strongest’ – we tend to make all kinds of instant judgements about a person, their values and personality, based on visual presentation.”

“From appropriate work attire such as a crisp, clean white shirt or blouse, a job interviewer will deduce not only that a candidate is organised, business-like and efficient, but also that this person care about their self-image, and is courteous, cooperative, and able to work with others.”

A high 64% of employers polled listed a dirty shirt/blouse as the second thing they notice about candidates after their hairstyle/face, in an interview and a further 56% said a dirty, scruffy or inappropriate shirt were the biggest ‘physical faux pas’ a candidate could commit.

A telling 83% said they would turn down someone who turned up to an interview with a dirty, scruffy or inappropraite shirt.

Donna comments:

“A dishevelled, dirty, or inappropriate shirt will signify just the opposite – that this person is disorganised and lacking in awareness, with a selfish desire to do his/her own thing, which might preclude working harmoniously with others.”

“With just a little forethought, job candidates can work their visual presentation into a strong advantage.”

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