Self Esteem. It’s the cornerstone of happiness. And we live in a world full of values and judgments that can chip away at our self esteem on a daily basis…If we let them. One of the most notorious judgments we all encounter involves our appearance. And these types of judgments are common in today’s professional world. In this world, “how we look” projects an image to others – whether true or false, positive or negative. And perception is reality. So if a lawyer wants to compete effectively for a job, s/he needs to give consideration to this piece of the puzzle.
I know there are some of you out there who will say: “If an employer is that superficial, you don’t want to work there anyway.” And in a perfect world, this couldn’t be truer. But we don’t live in a perfect world. And employers who formulate certain impressions based on appearance are not always superficial. In fact, rarely so. So like it or not, appearance matters. Especially for lawyers. Especially in interviews.
It sounds like you’ve given careful thought as to how your appearance may be compromising your ability to compete in interviews – and you’d like to do something about it. But is seeking the help of an expert worthwhile?
If you have the funds, and want to improve your wardrobe and overall appearance for your interview presentation, I do believe it’s worth the expense, time and effort. When a person doesn’t feel good about him/herself in some way, that negativity will manifest itself in an interview setting. In addition, fashion trends constantly evolve and it can be difficult for a busy professional to keep up in this area – which can exacerbate the issue. Enlisting the help of a professional can help educate you on current styles and “professionalize” your appearance. And addressing these issues may give you greater confidence about your overall presentation. A result, which will come through in an interview.
But with this said, I strongly recommend that you examine the rest of the puzzle to assess whether there is anything else that could be compromising your candidacy – or if your appearance really is, in fact, the only culprit. When interviewing, there are a few core areas that should be polished in order to maximize your candidacy: preparation, showing up on time, good handshake, strong eye contact, a positive attitude, enthusiasm, good judgment, courteous to everyone, confidence, accommodation, follow-through…and personal presentation.
Carefully review each of these areas from your past interviews to determine whether there have been any deficiencies in your approach. In addition, if you want a better sense of the impression you give, ask a friend, colleague or recruiter to conduct a dress rehearsal interview with you…from beginning to end. And ask for honest feedback. This will give you an outside perspective of how you actually present in this setting. If you prefer to be private, videotape yourself in a mock interview setting.
Good personal presentation is important for a job interview. If you feel like you could use the assistance of an expert in this area to improve yours, by all means do so. But also take the time to analyze other possible reasons for your unsuccessful meetings. By covering the additional bases, you might discover that what you’re beholding is more than skin deep.