A study by AXA has revealed that it takes just eight minutes for a potential employer to make a positive or negative judgement in an interview.

The study of 2,000 people found eye contact to be the most important factor in an interview, even more important than knowledge of the relevant subject, which is second in the top five. The importance of smiling also shouldn’t be underestimated with almost one in three people saying it’s most important to make a good impression.

Swearing is considered the ultimate faux pas in an interview with almost half of employers saying that a candidate cursing would put them off offering them a job. Scruffy or dirty clothes and lack of knowledge came in second and third place in the list of bad impressions. And, ‘trendy’ interviewees beware – one in four employers say that tattoos and piercings would make them form a negative judgement.

Women who like to wear a full face of makeup should bear in mind that heavy makeup is a turn off for 13% of female interviewers, compared to 6% of male interviewers.

One in 50 men remove a wedding ring in the hope of making a better impression during an interview, something women never consider.

The top five things that go down well in an interview are eye contact, knowledge of the relevant subject, smart clothing, being articulate and smiling.

And the least five? Swearing, scruffy clothes, a lack of knowledge about the role, being unprepared and body odour. Heurgh!

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