Recruitment and interview tips to help UK SMEs and employees got in touch with Lee Chambers, Psychologist and Wellbeing Consultant, to get a better understanding of the psychological effects that each colour can have and what it tells about your personality. 

He says:

"The intriguing reality is that every colour has positive and negative connotations, and this can be utilised when you consider the type of role and industry you are looking to succeed in, as well as the personality you want to promote.

Advisors will often tell you to go sensible for the traditional staples of black, navy and grey, so let’s look at this from a broader perspective:

Blue: A popular choice that exudes calm confidence and authority. It can place employers in a place of serenity but doesn’t convey dynamism and creativity, especially in lighter shades.

Purple: The colour of authenticity, status and non-conformity. It confers confidence, charisma and a certain boldness that isn’t as welcomed in some professions. It can also be a creative statement and suggest a strong personality, which sends the message that you might not be as flexible fitting into the company culture. Use a muted colour to take the edge off, and it comes into its own.

Black: Black is an intense colour, portraying leadership qualities, elegance and seriousness. However, dress like a shadow, and you will suddenly look untrustworthy and a little menacing.

Green: The universal colour of growth and serenity, but not the easiest colour to implement. It suggests you’re open to training and learning, and have a calm disposition. But it also relates to a lack of cutting edge, and a quieter creative tendency that may be left behind in fast-paced positions. Some people still anchor green as the colour of envy, and this can be a consideration for higher-level positions.

Red: Ever the vibrant flame, red is the colour of power and passion. It tells everyone you are an energetic and social character, and can be great for those who are a little quieter by nature, as red clothing with an exuberant personality can be overpowering for some interviewers. It can also signal that you might like some conflict to perform at your best.

Yellow and Orange: The happiest colours we know, and a splash of these instantly singles you out as a joyful person. You are fun to be around, often smiling. However, both colours give a feeling of unease over time, and generally are associated with a lack of seriousness and commitment, not a great first impression. Add a splash to show your creativity and save more colour for the work social once you’ve secured the position."

White: On its own, it's clinical and uninspiring. But on the flip side, it shows that you are organised enough not to spill coffee on yourself. It delivers a message of clean, concise work, but a lack of innovation. A great base to add flashes of another colour.

Grey: The ultimate colour of safety and logic. Grey transmits a candidate who uses their initiative and analyses situations. It doesn’t convey confidence or courage and needs a pop of colour to show your personality.

Brown: Less prevalent, but is a robust and earthy colour. It speaks for reliable, grounded individuals, resilient and dependable. It isn’t a forward-thinking colour, and displays a preference for tradition values. It can suck a little energy from the room, so use it mindfully.

Other quick psychological tips:

Don’t go monotone or technicolour dream coat: If you go as one block colour, you will appear one dimensional, inflexible and generally lacking complexity, which is vital in some roles. Use colour tones and shades that complement and contrast and find a balance that feels right for you.

Muted shades can win the day: If you want to go as your favourite colour, maybe consider a muted shade or as a secondary colour, as bold and overbearing is often a risky first impression to make.

Research the company colours: We should all do this, but look a little deeper. What are the company's colours? What do the current employees dress in? What is the culture like? In the world of the internet, we can find out an excellent blueprint to base our interview dressing on.

Be authentically you: Interviews put us in a high arousal state and being dressed comfortably and in a colour that feels like you is like a warm hug. Choose colours that reflect who you are, consider the bigger picture, and you cannot go far wrong."

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