Interviews: Appearances do matter, even for Millennials

One of my favourite parts of my job is doing interviews. I’ve done about 500 in my career, and I still get a kick out of meeting people and learning about their life story. Some of these interviews have been terrible, but many have been exceptional. Some people just brighten my day; others make me cringe and daydream through the interview (it’s a talent to ask questions, pretend I’m interested, continue to probe, all while daydreaming about whether the Colts should select a tackle or a safety first in the draft).

For some poignant opinions on interviews, check out The Cynical Girl. The blog is a brilliantly honest take on the Human Resources (HR) profession. Her latest reposts are on personal appearance. Laurie is an extremely witty writer (although she can be a bit crude at times). It got me thinking about how much of a person’s career path be impacted by appearance in a 30-40 minute interview. Show up dressed like a slob, and no matter what your resume says, I’m not going to hire you. It’s judgmental I guess, but it’s a reality of our world. I want people who will represent my organization in a professional manner. Take 30 extra minutes to dress up for an interview and look good. Yep, it matters to the interviewer.

I interview a lot of students and new grads, and it never ceases to amaze me how few of them actually dress up for interviews. It’s almost become normal to show up in jeans. It frustrates me because I love the Millennial generation (I am one of them after all), but I think they (we) sabotage potential opportunities when we think these little things don’t matter. We think, “they will like me for me, or I’ll find another place that will”. That’s fine, but that laissez faire attitude prevents the interviewer from seeing their potential, and possibly from being considered for an opportunity.

So for your next interview, limit the jewelry, shine those shoes, iron your shirt, wear a suit, and wow the interviewer. It does make a difference.

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