Bad Breath Blocks Career Bump

July 5, 2011 ( - Bad breath, disheveled clothing, piercings and tattoos ranked highest among personal attributes employers said would make an employee less appealing for a promotion.

According to a CareerBuilder press release, 37% of hiring managers it surveyed said piercings would make them less likely to extend a promotion. Thirty-four percent cited bad breath, and nearly a third (31%) each said a visible tattoo or often having wrinkled clothes would block an employee from receiving a career bump.  

Other personal attributes looked down upon include: 

  • Messy hair – 29%; 
  • Dresses too casually – 28%; 
  • Too much perfume or cologne – 26%; 
  • Too much makeup – 22%; 
  • Messy office or cubicle – 19%; 
  • Chewed fingernails – 10%; and 
  • Too suntanned – 4%. 


The survey was conducted online within the U.S. by Harris Interactive on behalf of CareerBuilder among 2,878 U.S. hiring managers (non-government) between February 21 and March 10, 2011.