… the HR Minion. Because even minions have opinions. And giggles.

Don’t be distracting.

Breanne at the MBTI Blog, has a great post up about what candidates would do that annoyed her as a recruiter. It’s an awesome list, and I think you should go check it out. Some of the items on the list got me thinking about why they are annoying (besides the obvious, I mean). The reason wearing too much perfume or having a sloppy appearance annoys recruiters is because they are distracting. It takes the focus away from you and your abilities and puts it squarely on something negative.

Back when I was a debater in high school, before the novices were sent of to their first tournament they were quite emphatically told, by coaches and senior team members, what not to wear and do. It wasn’t just about professionalism or upholding the school’s image. We were told that we absolutely did not want anything about our appearance or mannerisms to distract the judge.

Let me provide some context here. Judges for high school debate tournaments are usually:
A. College kids who suffer from a lack of sleep and may or may not have debate experience
B. Parents of debaters who have no idea what they are doing
C. Friends of coaches who were forcibly dragged there and have no idea what they are doing
D. The debate coaches themselves who are thinking about how their team is doing.

Now, I’m sure you can imagine how hard it is to win over these judges when you are discussing philosophy, civil rights, and the definition of “ought” at 8:30 in the morning (on Saturday!), much less if all the judge is focusing on is your gaudy jewelry. Recruiters are just like everybody else in that they can be easily distracted. The more distracting you are, the harder it is for the recruiter to focus on you and your message. It’s not just about professionalism, it’s about the recruiter remembering you for all the right reasons.

So, the next time you get ready for an interview be sure your appearance is professional and, to be perfectly honest, a little austere. Be neat, well groomed, and subtle in fragrance, accessories, and mannerisms. You can show your personal sense of style (or lack thereof) after you get the job.

5 Responses | Add your Own

  • 1 Breanne :

    Thanks for the shout out! Guess what? I was a high school debater too! On our team gentlemen always wore a tie and suit jacket, and shoes always had to be shined or you weren’t allowed to compete. Ladies were required to wear skirts/dresses. I never liked the skirts rule, but I found that other teams who let theit ladies wear pants acted less ladylike. OMG, I sound like an article out of Good Housekeeping circa 1950! And be sure to wear your pearls!

    I even had a lay judge than gave my team the win one tim because “They dressed and looked more prepared.” Funny!

  • 2 Sharlyn Lauby :

    I too, was on the debate team. And, we had to the whole ‘dress conservative’ thing. But I have to give a shout out to my old debate partner because even though he wore a suit, he kept his long hair!

    Just goes to show ya, you can still be an individual and conform with the system at the same time.

  • 3 HR Minion :

    Breanne – My school had that rule as well. Guys had to wear suits and girls couldn’t wear pants. I agree, I think it made a difference in how we behaved.

    Sharlyn – I think long hair can look nice and professional on a guy as long as he maintains it. Messy with split ends ruins it though.

    I’m guessing you both were policy debaters if you had partners. Me, I’m an LD girl. I wonder how many other HR people are former debaters? I can see a lot of carry over in skill sets.

  • 4 HR Underling :

    Doh! No wonder I suck at this stuff! I was never on the debate team! I had to do one debate in college and I got points taken off because I said to the other guy, “You have a good point, you might be right”.

  • 5 HR Minion :

    HR Underling – Conceding does tend to cause you to lose. 🙂