Job hunting

Presentation is everything!


by Herman Benade

almost 2 years ago


Having been in sales recruitment since 2014, there is one thing that I have noticed over time. Well-presented candidates get the roles, regardless of whether they are the best fit for the role, or the company for that matter. 

Now the reality is, I am briefed by hiring managers on sourcing sales’ professionals, who will ultimately be the face of their businesses. The first impression is the sales professional who makes the first contact and then the account manager who manages the ongoing business relationship. So having a professional appearance is almost as important as the required industry knowledge and sales ability. This is more important in some industries more than others, but having worked across a number of different markets, it seems to occur in every industry.

As a recruitment consultant, it is my responsibility to prepare these job seekers and provide them with the necessary advice and techniques to enable them to have the best chance to obtain a role.  There is general preparation around how they articulate themselves in the interview process, but when it comes to appearance, some people may ‘shy away’ from discussing appearance, fearful that we might upset someone, or worse, offend them.

Now if a candidate was perfect for a role but their appearance was lacking, whether that is grooming, attire, tattoos, piercings or personal hygiene, my job is to best position the job seeker to secure the role, as well as providing the hiring manager with the most qualified and suitable candidate.

So here are a few tips:

  • Ensure you are immaculately groomed, first impressions are everything.
  • Unless otherwise advised, always wear a suit for men and structured business attire for women. It’s not about the suit or dress, it’s about the fact that you’ve put some effort into the way you present yourself. 
  • If you have any tattoos or piercings it pays to hide them, initially. Although it is not a deal breaker in a lot of industries to have tattoos or piercings anymore, the risk you run is that the prospective employer might not want that image to represent their business.
  • This one should be a given, but ensure your personal hygiene is of a high standard. Wear deodorant. Don’t have a cigarette before you enter the interview and wear cologne or perfume. Shower.
  • Ask your consultant what is acceptable to wear from a jewellery perspective, as this might change from hiring manager to hiring manager. 

An interview is a sales process, even more so for sales professionals. So go in prepared to sell yourself as a full package and take pride in how you present yourself.

This seems simple but when there are clear studies out there stating that people decide whether they will hire someone within the first five minutes of meeting them, your appearance will in all likelihood, influence this decision.

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