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Alcohol makes you less hireable

Posted on 2nd August 2012 in Industry News, Interesting Stuff
Written by: Amelia Elson

According to an article on, consuming alcohol on a job interview ‘conducted over dinner’ means that you are less likely to be hired. They claimed that the study was because of the association of alcohol and ‘cognitive impairment’. Even if the interviewer asked you, ordered first or ordered one for you it still means you were less likely to get the job.

109 participants were used for the research which is not a particularly robust sample to draw a definitive conclusion but alcohol consumption does have an impact on work performance.  Statistics show that in England, in 2010, 68% of men and 54% of women (aged 16 and over) reported drinking an alcoholic drink on at least one day weekly. These figures are said to have increased significantly within the past 2 years. Does this mean that over 61% of the population over 16 would be un-hireable?

I also heard once about how an interviewee was rejected a job offer due to pouring salt on his chips before eating them over dinner. The interviewer claimed it showed that the applicant’s judgement was too flawed and therefore was not suitable for the job.

I think it’s interesting that such small habits can affect the chances of you getting a job. The alcohol study claimed to go further as ‘just holding an alcoholic drink is enough to significantly reduce the probability of receiving a job offer’. What is the justification for this?

Could it be the impact of drinking on the workplace?  Alcohol is absorbed into your bloodstream within just a few minutes of being drunk and is carried all around your body including the brain! The blood alcohol concentration depends on many factors: how much you have consumed, how long you’ve been drinking, how much food you have eaten, your size. This is why it’s so difficult to determine how much alcohol is in your bloodstream and therefore how much this is effecting your performance at work.

Up to 17m working days are lost annually due to alcohol-related absence and a staggering 20m due to alcohol-related reduced employment. At least 58,000 potential working years are annually lost due to premature alcohol related deaths and this represents lost earnings for individual, profit for employers and productivity for the country. This lost productivity is worth up to £6.4bn!

Alcohol effects work performance, damages customer relations and breakdowns of colleague support who have to ‘carry’ their fellow workers. Again, there’s no definite figure on the number of workplace accidents where alcohol is the contributing factor but alcohol has always been known to affect judgement and physical co-ordination; even drinking a small amount before or while working in a job that is ‘safety sensitive’ will increase the risk of an accident.

Many employing organisations now operate ‘workplace alcohol policies’ demanded not only to ensure workers are sober during work hours but to identify which employees may be suffering with a drink problem. We can only estimate on how many companies actually operate alcohol policies, although they are very common in large companies and those which are vital such as transport.

If it takes a healthy liver an hour to break down and remove 1 unit of alcohol from your body, perhaps it’s best to drink something else in an interview and at work. Leave the alcohol to nights in and weekends!