Fighting tooth and nail for a job

Bad teeth have become the top interview turn-off. Is that why Shane McGowan doesn't have an office job?

Last Updated: 31 Aug 2010

According a new survey, 62% of employers would refuse to hire an applicant with bad teeth. That makes them the biggest physical turn-off for interviewers – more than sweatiness, dirtiness, smelliness or even excessive amounts of flesh. ‘Not even muffin tops or unsightly cleavage beats stained, yellow or dirty teeth,’ the survey informs us helpfully.

Of course, the concept of ‘bad teeth’ is a big tent, as they say, covering a multitude of sins. When asked exactly what the root cause of their revulsion was, it wasn’t just a dodgy hue that got on respondents’ nerves. A whopping 41% of respondents cited bad breath as the major problem, followed closely by leftover food, noticeable plaque (have these interviewers got Super-sight?) and in fourth place, ‘dry saliva residue’. Delightful.

At this point we should probably confess that this theory actually comes from (that well-known authority) the Ultimate Smile Spa, in celebration of National Smile Month – and it’s based on a survey of 1000 people... at a dental clinic. Where arguably, you’d kind of expect people to have a bit of a thing about dental hygiene. So admittedly, the cynic might suggest that this isn’t exactly the most methodologically rigorous research ever conducted.

Still, founder Dr Lance Knight isn’t letting something as trivial as a lack of authority throw him off the, erm, scent. ‘Unfortunately the public’s awareness of the importance of good oral healthcare isn’t as high as it should be,’ he explains. ‘People spend time and money on the perfect interview outfit or getting a new hair-do but miss out on the basics. Companies want to employ people who are well presented and that includes healthy teeth'.

But while this radical new theory might sound a bit implausible, perhaps it sheds some light on the recent Apprentice series finale. After all, Lee McQueen’s semi-fictional CV may have provoked all kinds of righteous indignation (notably from the Prime Minister, who prefers to be honest about his own failings, and the entire Dragons’ Den, who of course have never once thought about bending the truth to get a deal done) – but the new Apprentice has got a pretty decent set of gnashers, as we recall. Perhaps SurAllun’s decision to pick him instead of Claire was purely dental?

Find this article useful?

Get more great articles like this in your inbox every lunchtime

A simple cure for impostor syndrome

Opinion: It's time to stop hero-worshipping and start figuring out what greatness looks like to...

I was hired to fix Uber’s toxic culture - and I did. Here’s ...

Harvard’s Frances Frei reveals how you know when your values have gone rotten, and what...

Social responsibility may no longer be a choice

Editorial: Having securitised businesses’ loans and paid their wage bills, it’s not inconceivable the government...

What went wrong at Wirecard

And how to stop it happening to you.

Leadership lessons from Jürgen Klopp

The Liverpool manager exemplifies ‘the long win’, based not on results but on clarity of...

How to get a grip on stress

Once a zebra escapes the lion's jaws, it goes back to grazing peacefully. There's a...