Business & Finance Careers & Employment

The Impact of Your Appearance for an Interview

Your resume has set high expectations!

You've finally reached the pinnacle of your job search. Your inspiring resume has motivated a host of interested companies to contact you to schedule interviews! How you present yourself and convey your best possible image during the initial seconds of an interview creates a first and lasting impression with the hiring manager. During this rather short but critical threshold, your appearance influences how you are perceived by the interviewer. This is the first crucial step in a relationship that will define how you are judged, the interview progression, and your potential role with a successful organization.

I worked for a prominent corporate global IT environment where conveying a professional image was a necessity. The underlying company mantra was - "you can never look good enough"! Maintaining a professional appearance not only demonstrates good judgment, it's also representative of the way your colleagues, clients, and peers perceive you. If you don't look the part, intuitively, why should one trust you with supporting and managing their multi-million dollar business?

Your image 'Differentiates' you!

Typically, hiring managers seek candidates who have demonstrated a pattern of achievement and growth throughout their career. A successful career is typically attributed to a multitude of factors including: solid business acumen, industry expertise, strong interpersonal skills, and the image that you create for yourself. Collectively, these factors reflect one's professionalism.

A professional image immediately 'differentiates' you from other candidates competing for a job opening. A highly polished initial appearance propels you above candidates! If lacking, it doesn't really matter if you were the President of your graduating class, or if you saved your prior company millions of dollars through innovative process re-engineering strategies. The fact is, should the interview proceed to that level of detail, the interviewer has already made a judement about you - whether right or wrong!

Has your wardrobe kept pace with your career?

Unfortunately in today's rapid-paced, multi-tasking environment, it's not uncommon for one's wardrobe to be neglected while working 'non-stop' to meet contractual deadlines and corporate commitments. Regardless of the influencing circumstances, if confronted with the unpleasant task of seeking new employment, your worn 'tired' clothing of the past, typically does not maintain the same pace as your demanding career. Don't enter the job hunt prematurely if your wardrobe has been neglected or outdated. It's a self-destructive path to a '10 Second Interview'!

Leave a positive and lasting impression!

I had the honor of meeting Mr. John T. Molloy at a sales meeting several years ago. His novel - 'Dress for Success', raised general awareness by promoting that corporations reflect their brand and image through the appearance of their employees. Although somewhat outdated, this philosophy still exists today throughout corporate America.

My best advice for job-seekers - always endeavor to present and leave a positive initial and lasting impression throughout the interview process. It starts with your appearance! You may not have a second chance to make amends! According to former Notre Dame and New York Jets football coach Lou Holtz, "It's not the load that breaks you down, it's the way you carry it"!

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