Image: The Courier-Mail
By Jon Michail
We all know that presenting well for a job interview is important, but I worry that some people looking for work underestimate just how important it is to look ready to walk right into that dream job.
Take the image above – staged of course, but it got me thinking. Our circumstances when going for an interview might not be great. Maybe you have been out of work a while due to illness or other reasons and you’re desperate for work. All the more reason to look the very opposite!
People may do many great things for charitable reasons, but unless it’s from a relative or very close friend, you’re unlikely to ever be given a job out of sympathy.
When looking for work first impressions matter!
Now imagine the man above walks in looking for work. Lucky for him he’s very talented at sport, which means off-field misbehaviours or even criminal offences only seem to cause temporary setbacks. But the world of business is very different. And most of us aren’t born with one outstanding natural talent – we have to combine our giftings, skills, and experience to come up with something great.
The “real-world” expects that we present all our talents and potential in the best possible light. Once you get the job you’ll have the chance to show just what you can do. But you have to get the job first.
Unless you are already known to your interviewer (in which case you have nailed the networking game – well done!) all the interviewer has to go on is your appearance.
And first impressions matter!
The interviewer is evaluating the appearance of your resume (why the five-year gap between 2012-2017?) and they are evaluating your personal image, your visual “reputation” when you walk in to meet them.
If you are vying for a job in a great company, don’t wear a less-than-impressive outfit to the interview because it’s the best you have at the moment. Thinking you’ll buy the perfect suit once you have the salary to afford it is a serious mistake. You’ll never get the job in the first place. You have to walk into that building looking like you already belong. It’s the only way to succeed. If you don’t believe in yourself first, then why should your potential employer?
Remember, we don’t live in a perfect world
As much as we may wish we lived in a world where appearances don’t matter, we have all been programmed to judge a book by its cover.
When you dine at a classy restaurant you want to feel that the experience is worth the price tag. Show your interviewer that you will add value to their company. Show them that you believe in your own worth.
If you walk into a restaurant that looks greasy and smells bad then you are avoiding a potential health risk by walking straight back out again.
And when HR decide against a job candidate with sloppy presentation skills, then they are avoiding a person who might take the same sloppy attitude into their job. Of course you’ll never be told the reason you didn’t get the job is your bad B.O. and messy hair. You’ll simply hear that another candidate was more qualified for the position. Best of luck, etc…
Think about the sort of person you would hire. Discard opinions that say it shouldn’t matter, it’s not fair and it’s discriminatory. Although that may all be true, following this type of advice will keep you looking for work and falling short of your full potential. Be smart and present yourself in a way that inspires confidence, and don’t let your appearance and that all important first impression be the reason your interviewer writes you off before your other incredible qualities are given their moment in the spotlight.
Jon Michail and his team at Image Group International partner with their clients to achieve breakthrough results with contrarian and disruptive ways to grow and monetise their personal and business brands. A veteran, multi-award winning coach and author with a Who’s Who clientele, Jon is the CEO and Founder of Image Group International, an Australian-based corporate and personal brand image advisory and coaching organisation that conducts transformational seminars, workshops and one-on-one coaching in over four continents. He is recognised as Australasia’s No. 1 Image Coach.