Image: Story of an Interview
I had an interesting conversation with a friend today. Her son is in his 20s, and he made it to the final 3 for a job he is seeking. After a one-on-one interview with one of the executives, her son relayed an interesting conversation that had occurred. The executive told him, “You are smart, a go-getter and you know what you are doing, but the thing that has set you apart from the other two candidates is the way you dress. Whether we offer you the job or not, I want you to know how important this is. The other two guys showed up in sports coats and no tie. You have always been dressed in a suit and have shown us that your image matters. This is important, because if we hire you, you will be representing this firm, and we have to know you will represent us well.”
Whoa!!!! I felt like this executive had been reading my blogs! This is EXACTLY why image matters! You can read some of my other articles that talk more in depth about image, but I just wanted to use this example as an important reminder that how we present ourselves can make a difference in our level of success.
Our bodies are like a billboard on the main street of a busy intersection. When we walk into a room, we are telling people what they should think about us. A first impression will be formed about you in 2 seconds, EVEN if the other person never speaks to you. I often hear people say, “But that isn’t fair. Someone shouldn’t form an opinion about me without getting to know me first.” Wrong! The other person is forming an opinion about you, because you are telling them what to think about you! It is not the other way around.
When you are groomed, and your clothes are tailored to fit your body type it shows you care about yourself. It shows you take pride in who you are as a person. I always clarify when I speak of image, I am never referring to what one person might perceive as physically attractive. What constitutes beauty in modern society changes with each generation and is based on what is promoted in pop culture. In the Marilyn Monroe days, a curvy figure was what the world desired. Then came the toothpick-thin era where boney, narrow hips were all the rage. Now, we have moved to the bigger and more voluptuous “behind” as a sign of what others find attractive. Hey, that is good news for me. My pear-shaped body means I am back in vogue!
When we take pride in ourselves, groom ourselves, and wear clothes that fit, it does not matter what size we are, we will be seen by others as beautiful! Why? Because it is the pride and confidence that shines from within that is the real gem.
Counseling offices in universities across the country have begun bringing back etiquette, image, and protocol courses for their graduating seniors. Why? They have begun noticing many graduates are not being offered jobs in the work force, even when they have well-rounded resumes that appear to make them a desirable candidate. When these departments began asking companies why their students were not being hired, the common thread that was missing among the applicants was a basic knowledge of soft and social skills. These include dining and business etiquette, good communication, a well-groomed image, along with other intangible skills. It was not uncommon for an employer to say, “The candidate looks great on paper, but there is no way I can put them in front of a client. They would not represent us well.”
Nicholas Wyman with Forbes, stated, “Sadly, many college graduates lack both practical work experience as well as soft skills. These are the crucial people skills you need to land a job…”
Professor Cary Cooper of the Manchester Business School said, “…some graduates lack social skills and the ability to conduct face-to-face conversations.”
Image matters, because first impressions matter, and when you take pride in yourself you are portraying confidence in who you are as a person. As we have seen with my friend’s son, the positive portrayal of his image, along with his soft skills, may be the deciding factor to him securing his dream job.
The best news about obtaining soft skills and portraying a good image? It is 100% in your control!
Together with you,