One panel interview that I attended, for a mid-managerial position, was a tough contest with three finalists in the fray for one vacancy. Notwithstanding the written test and the group discussion that preceded the interview, I was surprised to learn later that I was selected for the tie that I wore and for the shine on my shoes!
Knowledge, experience and communication skill are requisites that potential employers look for, but grooming and dress sense cannot be ignored.
Why the emphasis on grooming?
Every progressive organization is particular about how it is represented by its employees, especially the white-collared ones. Blue-collared employees bring about the uniformity and a culture that reflects the image of an organization to a great extent but that is largely internal. Those having to interface with the outside world - with customers, suppliers and stakeholders are the ones that organizations are most concerned about. Not to leave out the image that co-workers make of the individual, especially if in a managerial position.
While, to judge an individual by his clothes is not fair and may even be misleading, one is judged by how he or she wears the clothes. Interviewers prefer a well ironed shirt to an expensive but crumpled one. Likewise, a tie that is soiled near the knot is a telltale sign that the owner cares little about neatness. Shoes may have been well polished before the interview, but what if they got dusty on the way there? Well, shine them off the bottom of your trousers when no one is looking or carry tissue paper for the purpose, but shine, they must.
As for grooming - the term originally reserved for upkeep of dogs and horses, the basics are the same – cut nails, clean teeth, fresh-smelling breath and well combed hair.
After all, packaging announces the product.
Knowledge, experience and communication skill are important but grooming and dress sense cannot be ignored