There was a story on a popular Network TV News Magazine recently about people that are unemployed and decide to get plastic surgery to improve their chances of getting a job offer. They spend anywhere from $12,000 to $18,000 on tummy tucks, facelifts, breast reductions, or a myriad of other procedures in the hopes of looking more ‘hirable’ in some way.
Does appearance really matter that much? May surgery really be necessary?
Yes. and NO!
When being considered for a job, it’s not just your skills that matter. It’s your attitude, your communication skills, your culture fit for the organization, your professionalism, and yes… your appearance. Your appearance can tell a lot about you. It speaks of your attention to detail. It tells of how you care about your presentation to others. It speaks of your professionalism, and gives clues as to whether you care about being ‘up to date’ with the culture… which may speak of your skills as well.
OK… you may say… but age often shows itself in unflattering ways and that makes a difference… doesn’t it?
The way someone presents themselves has more to do with the perception than actual physical characteristics.
There are 30 year olds whose faces and bodies may look wonderful, however, after meeting them for 5 minutes you get the impression that they are ready for retirement. They show no enthusiasm, they dress in very poor fitting and outdated clothes that may not be pressed or cleaned. They seem to have no ambition, or willingness to learn new things.
On the other hand, I know of 65 year olds that can and do get hired easily. They may be overweight, or their face may show their age, however, they dress professionally, in updated, clean and pressed clothing. Ties are on straight, and shoes are clean and polished. Pants are the correct length and they are not wearing white socks. Hair is kept neat and professional… even if there is little of it. They exude energy, interest, enthusiasm, and a willingness to learn and take on new challenges. They are cheerful, express confidence and a positive attitude. Those traits are much more attractive to a potential employer than someone that may have fewer wrinkles or a smaller waist.
Someone’s appearance is more affected by the way they ‘carry’ themselves than the physical aspects of their face or body.
So… how do YOU present yourself?
In an interview, networking meeting, or business meeting, clothes matter. They don’t have to be expensive, but they do have to be neat, clean, pressed, well fitting, and professional. Are your shoes appropriate, or are you wearing hiking boots with your suit? Are they clean and polished? Are you wearing socks that match your suit? If you are wearing a tie, is it straight and your collar adjusted properly, or do you have a big knot pushed up on the side raising your collar? If you’re a woman, are you wearing appropriate business attire, or a cocktail dress? Are you carrying an appropriate case or purse, or a beach bag? For either men or women, is your aftershave or cologne overpowering? Is your hair disheveled? All of these things, and more, get noticed and create an image of you that is considered in the hiring decision.
How do you ‘carry’ yourself? Do you show professional enthusiasm? A positive attitude? Do you listen attentively, and give succinct and articulate responses? Do you show appropriate confidence? Do you express optimism and cheer? Do you show ambition and interest in new challenges? Do you come across as coachable? All of these aspects are critical to your ‘appearance’!
Never assume that all that matters in the interview process is your ability to do the job! However, before you decide to lay out thousands of dollars on surgery, make sure you look at yourself in the mirror to see whether you present yourself in the best way you can with what you’ve got!
Harry Urschel has over 20 years experience as a technology recruiter in Minnesota. He currently operates as e-Executives and writes a blog for Job Seekers called The Wise Job Search.
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