One key detail that can provide a great deal of insight into a candidate’s personality and attitude is how seriously they appear to take making a good first impression through proper appearance. While you never rate candidates based on physical attractiveness, how much effort they put into being well groomed and properly dressed for the interview can reveal a lot about them. However, there may also be instances where the candidate lacking professional attire may still be the best choice. Keep these factors in mind when evaluating candidates who didn’t dress properly for the interview.
One of the main reasons attire choice has such an impact on first impressions is because it can demonstrate how mindful a person is of the situation. If candidates don’t seem to know the importance of looking their best for an interview, as a hiring manager, you may question just how seriously they’d take the job. Take a look at how much attention to detail these types of candidates exhibited (such as being punctual, following application instructions, and being prepared overall) to determine whether or not their inappropriate interview attire is a sign of an underlying carelessness.
The little details simply don’t matter as much for the candidates who can show their skills and deliver results. If a candidate has an impressive resume filled with objective achievements, especially hard numbers or accolades, how he dresses for the interview likely won’t matter as much in the grand scheme of things. Unlike candidates who don’t dress properly out of ignorance or lack of respect for the opportunity, high achievers may not pay as much attention to their appearance because they feel their achievements speak for themselves.
Not properly dressing for the interview could very well be a bad sign, but it could also be out of the candidate’s control. Start off by giving them the benefit of the doubt. A candidate may be struggling financially and making due with the only clothing that is available. Be sensitive to these possibilities and look for indicators of effort and enthusiasm (or lack thereof) to determine if their attire presentation is out of their control but they’re making up for it in other ways.
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