Skip to main content

With restrictions easing and normality beginning to return, first impressions are once again becoming very important. Whether attending an interview or starting a new job, it takes just a matter of seconds for an employer to judge you. But just how important are first impressions to us, and how do physical appearances impact our opinion of someone’s character?

Lenstore has surveyed 1,000 people across the UK to find out the truth behind first impressions. This includes the biggest contributing factors of our perception of others when meeting for the first time – both positively and negatively -, as well as the physical attributes we assume relate to certain personality traits.

The impact of first impressions on our personality perceptions

The study analysed our personality assumptions based on first impressions to see which physical appearances indicate certain characteristics. 

1. How to communicate intelligence 

The top three factors that we assume makes someone intelligent are:

  1. Eye contact (15%)
  2. Smart clothes (14%)
  3. Good posture (13%)
     

Eye contact was found to be the most important factor when communicating intelligence, it’s interesting to see one in six people (14%) also see smart clothes as an indicator of intelligence, as well as good posture. 

Known for indicating intelligence, it’s unsurprising that over 1 in 10 people perceive people with glasses to be more intelligent. Interestingly, people see someone that is clean-shaven as significantly more intelligent than someone with facial hair (10% vs 4%).

Plastic surgery, wearing coloured contact lenses, piercings, bad odour and heavy make-up are considered the least contributing factors to intelligence.

2. How to communicate confidence

The top three factors that we assume makes someone confident are:

  1. Eye contact (27%)
  2. Good posture (26%)
  3. Smiles a lot (23%)

Just under 1 in 3 people see eye contact as an indicator of confidence and the biggest sign of this trait. 1 in 10 people find people that are clean-shaven and the smell of perfume or aftershave as a sign of confidence, whilst the lowest contributing factors are being overweight (3%) and having bad odour (3%).

When it comes to being shy, more than 1 in 3 people see lack of eye contact as the biggest indicator of this, followed by someone that doesn’t smile and has a loose handshake. 

3. How to communicate trustworthiness

The top three factors that we assume makes someone trustworthy are:

  1. Eye contact (20%)
  2. Smiles a lot (15%)
  3. Good posture (14%)

1 in 5 people see eye contact as a key indicator of trustworthiness. Along with smiling and good posture, 1 in 10 find that smart clothes and being clean-shaven also indicate a trustworthy personality.

4. Things to Avoid When Attending an Interview 

The study also analysed the top three factors that make us assume someone may be untrustworthy. 

The top three factors that we assume makes someone untrustworthy are:

  1. Avoids eye contact (23%)
  2. Doesn’t smile (13%)
  3. Bad odour (12%)

Almost 1 in 4 find a lack of eye contact as a key sign of untrustworthiness. Other key attributes include a loose handshake and poor posture where an average of 1 in 10 people find this mistrusting.