How Your Attire and Attitude Can Cost You a Promotion

iStock_000044900330_SmallYour wardrobe and even your haircut may be holding you back from a promotion, says a new study from CareerBuilder on the physical and behavioral factors that can hurt employees’ career advancement.

Provocative clothing, a disheveled appearance and an unprofessional haircut cause employers to think twice before promoting employees, and behaviors such as exhibiting a negative attitude, often arriving late or gossiping can also work against them, according to the national survey released in July.

The survey conducted online by Harris Poll on behalf of CareerBuilder included a representative sample of 2,175 hiring and HR managers across multiple industries and company sizes.

Atrocious attire
According to the survey, the top wardrobe-related aspects that would make an employer less likely to hire someone are:

  • Provocative clothing (44%)
  • Shabby appearance (43%)
  • Piercings outside of traditional ear piercings (32%)
  • Attire that is too casual for the workplace (27%)
  • Visible tattoos (27%)
  • An unprofessional or ostentatious haircut (25%)
  • Unprofessional or ostentatious facial hair (24%)
  • Bad breath (23%)
  • Heavy perfume or cologne (21%)
  • Too much makeup (15%)

Banished behaviors
The top behaviors that hurt an employee’s chances for promotion include:

  • Having a negative or pessimistic attitude (62 %)
  • Regularly showing up to work late (62 %)
  • Using vulgar language (51%)
  • Regularly leaving work early (49%)
  • Taking too many sick days (49 %)
  • Gossiping (44%)
  • Spending office time on personal social media accounts (39%)
  • Neglecting to clean up after himself/herself (36%)
  • Always initiating non-work-related conversations with co-workers (27 %)
  • Taking personal calls at work (24%)
  • Taking smoke breaks (19%)

“In addition to on-the-job accomplishments, employers also take attitude, behavior and appearance into consideration when deciding who deserves to move up in the ranks,” said Rosemary Haefner, chief human resources officer at CareerBuilder. “While your work performance may be strong, if you’re not presenting yourself in a professional manner, it may be preventing your superiors from taking you seriously.”

To put your best foot forward in the office, Forbes advises to dress workplace-specific, in line with what everyone else in your office wears, and not to wear outdated power suits, ripped jeans, graphic tees, too many designer labels, neon colors or dramatic makeup.