No One Wants to Say It…

October 18, 2010 at 5:35 pm

But appearance is extremely important when interviewing for a job!

While interviewing job candidates there are many attributes an Executive Recruiter looks for in addition to qualifications on a resume. That is not to say objective qualifications and accomplishments are not important. They are critical but they are only the beginning. One’s objective credentials are akin to the key that opens the door. Once inside however there are far more nebulous criteria for successful interviewing and ultimately landing the job.

This is not to say that individuals are discriminated against because of sex, race, age, disability and other protected characteristics. There are rules and legislation surrounding this and they are well observed. This is also not about being pretty or handsome which are also not the bases of decision making. Rather what we are speaking about is far more subtle and opaque.

As the old adage goes:” you never get a second chance to make a first impression.” This first impression starts with the resume but is really solidified in the initial interview. So what are some of those more ambiguous criteria we recruiters and those hiring managers and executives look for?

Quite simply, if you want the part you must look the part. As such overall grooming is very important. It would seem obvious but this means clean and pressed clothing. It means not too much jewelry or cologne (both men and women take note) and for women appropriate day-time make-up is essential. Best to stick with conservative colors as much as possible in clothing, shoes and even nail polish.

One must clearly be sensitive to the environment in which you are interviewing. If it is a casual business attire environment this does not necessarily mean dress casual. When you are sitting on the interviewee side of the table it is always better to err on the side of more formal than less. Once you have the job, dress according to the environment in which you are working.

Here’s an insider’s tip, shoes and watches are often seen as tell-tale signs of a candidate’s personality. Shoes should be clean and polished if possible. Do not make the mistake of thinking that no one will look down to your feet. As for watches, they do not have to be expensive but save the Mickey Mouse and other frivolous ones for another occasion.

In dressing for the interview best not to make a fashion statement. Too trendy may be misperceived. Also a good idea to be comfortable in whatever you wear. You want to focus on the questions and your answers, not the too tight waist band or shirt collar.

Dressing for success is never more important than in a down economy. We need to use all of the tools in our toolbox! The job market is competitive and we want to put ourselves in the best light possible. It is amazing what a few small tweaks to our appearance can do, not only for the impression we make but for our overall level of confidence and poise. These are characteristics that will definitely leave a positive impression!


Entry filed under: Business, Recruiting.

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