Would you hire someone who came to a job interview who wasn’t dressed to win it?
Do you think employers or hiring managers discriminate against candidates because of the way they look or what they wear?
We have all heard you should never judge a book by its cover but, in all reality, we do. As soon as someone enters a room we run the risk of judging them – especially if they are not what we expected them to be. In fact, even over the phone we tend to judge people just by the sound of their voice. For many people this judgement is not necessarily overt and often takes the form of unconscious bias – when we subconsciously draw a conclusion while not realizing we are doing it. In today’s world even the most non-judgmental of us, well, judge. The same is true when it comes to the world of work, especially when you are heading into a job interview, or pitching for capital to start a business as a second career. From the clothes that we wear, to the style of our hair cut right through to whether or not our tattoos are visible – the very first impression can count.
To be frank with you we should do more to focus a job interview specifically around the skills, experience and qualifications someone has to bring to the table as opposed to what they wear, what they look like and how they smell…yes even how they smell can count against a candidate. So, what can we do to minimize the judgement call when it comes to prospective employers without losing our personalities and individuality?
Here are five #lifehacks all of you need to consier:
1. Ask the recruiter or hiring manager if there is a dress code (unless the job description has already detailed one)
It never hurts to ask the question and be guided by the hiring manager or recruiter because then you know what the standard is. Many hotels or those in the hospitality industry will have a uniform so the expectation would be that you will be uniformed should you win the job – but coming to an interview still dressed smartly should cover your bases.
2. Dress for the job you are applying for
If you are going for an office job or some sort of white collar role always dress for the style that you would be expected to wear if you had the job – for the guys that may mean a suit or a shirt and tie at a minimum and for the lady’s smart business dress – in fact, for both men and women, smart business dress. If the role is more outdoors work or blue collar then don’t wear a three-piece suit – causal smart should always win the day. In other words, its ok to wear surf shorts to the beach but not to a job interview. By asking the question in #lifehack one you should be able to cover bases.
3. Polish you shoes or clean them up
People can sometimes make the mistake of walking into a job interview looking a million bucks but then the hiring manager looks down and sees the dirty shoes…take some water and a tea towel to them before you leave the house or when you are in the bath room near the interview a little bit of water and towelette can go a long way.
4.Smarten your hair
Don’t walk into an interview as if you have a birds nest in your hair. Even if you have dreadlocks you can still make sure your is smart, brushed or combed, tied back or parted – however you wear your hair just make sure it looks tidy.
Yes Tatt’s – they can be a point of interest or a turn off. In actual fact some organisations have policies whereby they ask staff to cover tattoos up – my advice is to not cover them up – but instead ask if there is a tattoo policy. If they say yes then indicate if you are willing to cover up or not.
At the end of the day the argument around dressing for success can be a two sided one. On the one hand employers will say they want personalities to shine through but only if the person is dressed the way they want them, uses under arm deodorant and has tidy hair – while prospective employees may say “well, I’d work harder if you let me be who I am.”
I wonder where you fit with this dressing for success argument? Post your comments below:
About the author: Matthew Tukaki is the Host of the popular radio show in Australia called Second Career on the Talking Lifestyle Network and is the former Head of the world's oldest and one of the largest recruitment companies, Drake International.
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