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7 Employers Reveal the Nail Colors They Can't Stand

woman with bare makeup and deep purple nails


When it comes to an interview, the way you present yourself can speak volumes. It sometimes speaks louder than actual words. First impressions count, one study by found that 71 percent of hirers wouldn't hire a person who missed the dress code memo, which we guarantee includes your manicure. Since many of us often talk with our hands, the nail polish we choose to wear to a job interview is going to get noticed. But can your preferred choice of nail shade actually affect your chances? We put this question to five employers, from all different vocations, to find out what polish shades, if any, would make them think twice about offering you the role.

Keep scrolling to find out which nail polish shades to avoid and which ones get the thumbs up.

Assortment of nail polishes

"I would be put off by blue, yellow or green shades. I think it gives too much of a 'wacky' impression; this isn't a time for fancy dress. I would want to see how serious an applicant was about the role, not how 'quirky' they are. I think neutral nails give the right impression—that you care about your appearance but it's not the focus." — Nicola, CEO, 40

"Anything that is too gothic black, or too dark does not fly well when I am interviewing candidates. Equally, if it's sparkly, pointed or bright pink, blue or yellow, you won't get the job. Rule of thumb is to stay natural, French, or red if you wear it all the time. Anything else and you're looking for a rejection letter." — Frances, banker, 33

"As my business is in the fashion industry with a slightly quirky brand, I celebrate self-expression—so it wouldn't ever impact negatively on my decision. I would, of course, notice colors that were more in line with the brand, which is quite androgynous. So a blue, black or neutral rather than a pink, red or glitter would immediately feel 'on brand' to me." — Charli, creative director, 26

"Our staff represent our company to clients, so it's important that they are well-presented. I'm often put off by nail art, glitter, neons or anything too loud—it shows poor judgment on what's acceptable for our company culture. I prefer neutral colors, but most importantly nails need to be well-groomed and neat." — Jasmine, president of operations, 31

"There's no nail color that would put me off hiring someone. And as for nail art, to me, it demonstrates someone who's creative and isn't afraid to express themselves. In my experience, creative heads make for good brainstorming meetings." — Pat, editor, 38

"I think anyone who has the time and patience to have well-kept nails, no matter what color, makes a good impression for me. In marketing, creativity is celebrated and I believe individuality should be too!" Kim, Marketing Manager, 28.

"I personally find a French manicure very dull! Red is a great color for confidence, makeup is armor." Charlotte, Sales Leader at a technology company, 40.

In conclusion, if you're heading to an interview for a very corporate office-based role then err on the side of caution with a well-groomed nail and natural polish. If the job you're striving for is in a more creative industry you can be a little more experimental, but keep the glitters and neons for the weekend.

Keep scrolling for Byrdie's pick of interview-appropriate nail polish shades based on the insights above…

essie Nail Polish in Mademoiselle $9
Chanel Le Vernis Nail Colour in 08 Pirate $28
Deborah Lippmann Nail Varnish in She Wolf $20
sally hansen creme de la creme
Sally Hansen Miracle Gel Crème de la Crème $2
dior sienna 428
Dior Vernis in Sienna $28

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