Men and women look at potential hires differently
Things aren’t what they appear to be.
Recruiters look at way more than just your experience — and the gender of the person recruiting you may impact what qualities you’re judged on, according to a survey of 831 recruiters released by recruiting software firm Jobvite. Male recruiters, for example, care a lot more about appearance/personal style than do female recruiters, with 30% saying they pay a lot of attention to appearance/personal style, versus just 23% for women.
And that’s not the only appearance-related criteria they’re judging candidates on: your photos and selfies matter more to men too. Male recruiters are significantly more likely (32% vs. 20%) to look at candidates’ photos before meeting them, and they are also more likely to admit (27% vs. 20%) that seeing the photo influenced their decision to move on with a candidate or not. And male recruiters are significantly more likely to be negatively influenced by your selfies than female recruiters (12% vs. 5%). (They’re also more likely to judge you on your level of “enthusiasm.”)
Right or wrong, it’s clear that appearance matters. On the plus side, it’s often less about being handsome or beautiful, which we can do little about, and more about looking polished, professional and put together, experts say. So we asked career experts how to achieve the right look in both your photos on your social media and in person. Here’s what they told us.
A photo on your LinkedIn page may be the first thing a recruiter sees about you, so make it count. “Don’t try to use a random photo that was taken for another purpose, like a photo of you at wedding wearing a tux or cocktail dress. Make the effort of taking a head shot specifically for your LinkedIn profile and any other social media you use professionally,” says Kelly Donovan, a principal at Kelly Donovan & Associates. And consider having it professionally taken, says Call to Career founder Cheryl Palmer.
Palmer adds that “selfies are out,” the photo should be of just you and not you in a group, and that “your clothing needs to look professional, and you need to look well groomed.” Opt for a simple background — white is a good choice, but other solids can work too — and pick your outfit carefully, Donovan advises: “If you wouldn’t walk into a meeting at work wearing it, it doesn’t belong in your head shot!”
For an interview, study the company culture to figure out what to wear, says Donovan — who adds that a little online research into the company and a search on a site like Glassdoor can give you a sense of how buttoned up or casual the place is. “If you are really in doubt, you might consider going by the place where you will be interviewing before the interview to see what other people are wearing,” advises Palmer.
Barring that, “my advice for job candidates is that they dress a least a cut above what they would normally wear to work based on the type of work that they do,” says Palmer. And New York City-based career strategist Carlota Zimmerman adds that you should “err on the side of professionalism.” It also makes sense to think about the type of company and position you’re applying for, Palmer adds.
And when it doubt, “for most employers, business attire or business casual attire will be best for an interview, but some industries and companies are more casual,” says Donovan. Tech companies for example are often pretty casual, and “the west coast has a reputation for being more casual than the east coast,” she adds. No matter what you wear, make sure it’s wrinkle- and stain-free; and that the the entire outfit goes together well. And remember: this is not the time to try out new trends.
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