Dress to Impress

Creating a good first impression is so important.

Especially when meeting a new client for the first time or when trying to land that dream job. And it’s not just about what you wear. Non verbal communication speaks volumes: Eye contact, smile and body language. Research shows that it takes only a matter of seconds to decide if we like someone.

Choosing an outfit for that initial meeting can be stressful. You want to appear professional but not too “try hard”. You want to look like you’ve made the effort but not be too casual and most importantly you need to feel comfortable. If you can’t walk in heels don’t wear them, wear smart flat shoes. If you going for a media, marketing or PR role, you need to be more hip and trendy, smart but casual. A suit is not always appropriate in the non-corporate world. Ill fitting clothes are a no no so not too tight or too baggy, not too much make-up or perfume and do not wear bright colours unless you are applying for a job as a kids TV presenter

On the way to a client meeting on Friday I procrastinated over my outfit for 2 hours on my drive. It was boiling hot so chose a shift dress and flip flops. Then decided that going into a meeting at an extremely large Stately home with flip flops on might not give the best first impression so I pulled off the motorway to buy a jacket and changed into jeans, a nice top and the new jacket – smart but casual, always a winner. As it turns out, either outfit would have been fine. My new clients are into their Yoga, nature and Wellness big time.

I stopped at Starbucks in Leeds for breakfast: Soy cappucino and a cheese and marmite toastie. Has there ever been a better combo that cheese and marmite? Food of the Gods (although the cheese hatters in the office Dan & Mollie would disagree) and I observed a couple of interviews going on. Quite amusing to watch from a recruiters perspective.

The first was a duo of middle aged business women interviewing a young lad in very tight trousers and an ill fitting shirt and tie, sat there the whole time fiddling with his shirt and looking uncomfortable, not sure if it was the outfit or that he was being interviewed by two women, poor lad. Anyway when he left, all the buzz works came out “I thought he ticked all the boxes” and “lets bring him in to present a SWOT analysis”. Is that still a thing?

Then there was a younger guy being interviewed by an older woman with a pile of questions, reading them off and writing down comments without even looking at him. He had a long ginger beard, a white shirt on, some nice tattoos, skinny black jeans and a pair of vans. I would have given him the job based on his outfit. Shame on her for being so boring with her interview techniques.

Over the years I have interviewed hundreds of candidates and way before my days in recruitment. As a Health Club Manager, you interview every week and as a Regional Manager we used to hold large recruitment days of 50 or more candidates at a time. It was a bit like speed dating (not that I would know), and each of us would have 15 minutes at a time with each candidate in  a room one on one, so not long for a candidate to make a good lasting first impression. One guy brought a large holdall with him and then proceeded to take out two bottles of wine, one red, one white, a wine glass and a bottle opener and asked me which I prefer red or white and that he would open the one I prefer so that he could pour me a glass. I told him to get out! Not a good first impression but a lasting one.

Best advice is to research your client thoroughly by looking at their website, viewing their profiles on Linkedin, getting a feel of their team and their working environment.

I did when I met with the team at OX SEVEN, so pleased that they were not corporate, had a sense of humour, do not take themselves too seriously and looked like a whole lot of fun to work with. Plus the amazing location and incredible commission scheme.

Ticked all the boxes for me Ha Ha.


Will Grashoff

Managing Director

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