Candidate Appearance: Exploring Relevance and Responsibility

Fact: An interviewer’s first impressions are formed before the candidate has even said a word.

Study after study has shown that dressing in accordance with the interviewer’s expectations significantly increases an applicant’s chances of getting the job. Recruiters utilising increasingly popular online interviewing tools also are put off by poor lighting and camera angles.

A study published in the Journal of Applied Psychology found that interviewers actually provide more information about the company and vacancy to those they initially judged favorably while simultaneously requiring less information from the candidate. Online interviewers are also put off candidates by poor lighting.

The Innovation in HR webinar series continues to bring together Recruitment and Career experts to frankly discuss issues relevant to all those involved in the hiring process.  In a recent event, one NY-based HR executive lamented: “Too many candidates don’t get how to dress appropriately.  It’s up to their supporter base – including recruiters – to wake them up.”

Another argued that that today’s corporate interviewers need to learn to overlook personal biases about appearance, to a reasonable point, so that it doesn’t interfere with the selection process.

Perhaps. However, relying on a progressive client is dangerous. Recruiters are in the best position to tactfully inform applicants of a fashion faux pas, so they don’t repeat mistakes when meeting a client. Image isn’t everything, but the clear majority of clients will agree that it’s an indication of a recruiter’s suggested candidate’s personality, seriousness, and prudence.

 Image credit.



Categories: Articles for Employers, Articles for Job Seekers, Articles for Recruiters


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4 Comments on “Candidate Appearance: Exploring Relevance and Responsibility”

  1. September 11, 2012 at 1:00 pm #

    Hi Adam

    Nice article and a gentle rebuke to recruiters who do not prepare their candidates for interview. Perhaps there are a couple of holes in the process of recruiter/candidate/employer engagement?

    1 The recruiter doesn’t spend the time with the client to understand the culture of both the work environment and the interview environment (not always a match)

    2 The recruiter doesn’t always see the candidate in his/her ‘normal’ environment- either the candidate dresses to impress – or can’t be bothered because ‘it is only a recruitment agency’

    Of course, I am not even going down the slippery slope of ‘why should appearance matter’ …….

    Best regards


    • September 27, 2012 at 11:08 am #

      Thanks for the comment, Alan. Great to have you here. Can I tempt you to go down that slippery slope? 😉

      • September 27, 2012 at 5:45 pm #

        Hi Adam
        There seem to be enough blogs out there recently talking about candidate appearance – so I don’t really want to go there…. However, it does really open up again the debate about candidates’ perceptions of the value a recruitment business can bring to the party.

  2. August 1, 2013 at 9:56 pm #

    Formatting resumes. We all have our own ways to send resumes to clients. Some Recruiters just slap a logo and their own contact information on it, while others take the time to make sure the spelling and grammar are correct before sending the resume to the client with logo and their personal contact information. I see resumes from Recruiters that have different fonts, colors and misspelled words throughout the resume.
    Mangesh Patil durham nc

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