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© Sculpture: Jos Dirix
© Sculpture: Jos Dirix

Your looks effect your job interview

Pieter de Kiewit 23-02-2021 10:52 AM
Categories: About Us

Last week I had a call with a candidate with whom I have been in touch quite long. She told me that in our first contact she was a bit shaken when I said “a treasurer with blue-painted nails, that is something I do not see often”. Of course that was a very Dutch-direct thing of me to say. Not ill-intended but most others would have noticed and would have stayed quiet. I should have noticed her response and explain. I did not but the event brought me inspiration for this blog.

Not too long ago I wrote a blog where I stated one should not select based upon a first impression, https://www.treasurersearch.com/blogs/3/yvqu2b-recruiting-a-treasurer-and-the-first-impression---trap. But we cannot ignore a first meeting is the start of a long or very short relation. And in this first meeting, there is a first impression. All of us, being individuals, have our various traits: our clothes, our accent, our physical handicaps, how our breath (does not) smell, et cetera. How the other party receives our traits also varies widely upon where they come from. Upbringing, cultural background, mood and other factors all have their effect.

If you know that on one or more aspects, that shape you, are very far away from average or standard in your professional community, you might consider to address this. If there is a so-called “elephant in the room” and everybody ignores it, this often creates a very awkward atmosphere. So if you, for instance, have a stutter, describe how this has effected your work and study until now and how you learnt to deal with this. If you have a wheelchair, compliment your potential employer about the elevator. And if your hobby is grunge including the looks, describe how this did not stop you being the best in your current team. The other way around, if you interview a candidate with large tattoos on his bald head, consider complimenting him or ask if they have a certain meaning for him.

In all cases, use meta-communication to smoothen the conversation. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Meta-communication Use phrases like: “If you do not want to answer, please do not but.....”, “This might sound direct and I am not negative but.....”, “I can imagine you might have questions so let me start by informing you about....”
Meetings and especially job interviews very often feel a bit artificial and are often not easy. When people meet, nothing is standard. I hope you can use the above to defuse potential interview bombs.

Good luck finding your next job or employee,

Pieter de Kiewit

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