Appearance-Based Judgments and Leveraging Your Looks for Business

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In our day-to-day lives, we consciously and unconsciously make judgments based on appearance. Though we’re taught not to judge a book by its cover, making appearance-based judgments is an evolutionary instinct. We try to discern from a person’s face whether they are friendly and submissive or hostile and domineering. You can also deduce things about a person’s lifestyle and health from their appearance.

While it’s true that outward appearances aren’t everything, the evaluations that others make on them do have social consequences. For instance, more attractive people are more likely to be successful at job interviews and in the search for romantic partners. Here’s a breakdown of appearance-based judgments people make and how you can work around them to perform better in the workplace.


Our teeth are indicative of our health, hygiene and lifestyle habits, and status. Having whiter teeth can make you look five years younger as well as more employable. Prevent teeth staining by cutting down on dark beverages such as coffee, tea, cola, and wine. If you can’t help yourself, drinking these beverages with a straw minimizes the likelihood of them staining your teeth. While getting your teeth whitened at the dentist or using whitening strips at home are both viable solutions to stained teeth, having veneer covers put in is a more long-term solution. They can provide you with a smile that is both brighter and straighter.

If not genetic, some characteristics of our teeth may be due to our habits. Some structural conditions may be due to teeth grinding or bruxism, which may manifest stress or a side effect of certain medications. Apart from tooth damage, teeth grinding can also cause headaches and pain in your face and jaw.

Bad breath is a turn-off to just about everyone. It’s also linked to several medical conditions such as gum disease, respiratory illness, and acid reflux. It can also be caused by certain foods you eat. Make it a habit to practice good oral hygiene and carry some breath mints or a toothbrush in your work bag.


Several social experiments prove that gentlemen prefer blondes, but how do the fair-haired fare in the workplace? Research shows that they also earn more than other brunettes or redheads.

People also make judgments based on a woman’s hair length. Short-haired women, for instance, are seen as creative. Medium length hair is associated with intelligence. Women with long hair are more likely to be viewed by men as wife material.


Because we use our hands so much in our daily lives, our habits and lifestyle can manifest in the appearance of our hands. For instance, do you bite your nails? Nail-biting is often a sign of boredom or anxiety. Sometimes it’s also an absentminded habit that a person may hardly even be aware of. Nail biters also tend to be perfectionists, and nail-biting may also be a manifestation of obsessive-compulsive disorder. Trim and buff your nails regularly to make them look presentable.

Constant hand washing and sanitizing during this pandemic dries out your hands, so make sure to rub hand cream on them for smoothness and moisture. Skin texture and temperature are important because people will also make judgments based on your handshake. Cold, clammy hands won’t make a good impression on the person interviewing you for a job. Consider going to the salon to get a paraffin wax treatment to solve the problem.



Other people read your posture to get a sense of your confidence level, attentiveness, and emotions. Posture can also be indicative of social class and upbringing. It is the main vehicle of our body language. Generally, a good straight back indicates that you are confident, attentive, well-bred, happy, or all of the above. Your posture can also give away your comfort or discomfort in certain situations or with certain people.


Personal style is an outward expression of who we are and what we do. The condition and quality of our clothes communicate our economic status. But our choice of clothes also affects us psychologically. For example, the reason you may be struggling to work from home is you’re wearing your pajamas all day. Some clothing puts our brains into work mode, and others put us into vacation or lounge mode. This is the same reason you shouldn’t work in bed or on a couch because those spaces are associated with relaxation and not productivity. While you don’t have to dress in your full work attire, it will help you to wear something that’s at least more dressed up than what you would wear at home.

While it’s true that outward appearances aren’t everything, much about the workplace and the world of business are based on appearances and first impressions. Whether you’re considering a new look for the new year or want to know if your LinkedIn profile picture will make a good impression, we hope these tips helped you.

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