Job Search Need to Know

Why mature job seekers benefit from taking their personal grooming more seriously

Your appearance at an interview can be crucial to your chances of success.

Even if you have stunning qualifications, poor personal grooming may send all the wrong signs to the interviewer.   According to a survey conducted by Careerbuilder, 69% of hiring managers quoted bad dressing as their top turnoff about job-seeking candidates.

Your personal grooming says a lot about your personality, how much you value yourself, and it shows the confidence and competence you are presenting to the world.  So it’s paramount that you take every detail of your personal grooming seriously before attending any job interviews.

It is a rather interesting facet of people that there are three main ways they learn best and process new information. These ways are the ones individuals are naturally most comfortable and conversant in.

  • Visual types, who like to receive information written down and like visual explanations such as pictures and diagrams are the most likely to notice their visual appearance and update it when necessary.   
  • Auditory types, who can more easily understand verbal instructions and explanations, are less likely to critique themselves in the mirror and notice the new wild-looking hair that has sprouted out in their eyebrows, nose and ears, or even at the back of their neck, that is making them look unkempt.  
  • And kinesthetic types, who receive information mostly by being practical with their hands, may include people who mistakenly believe that no one else is noticing the small stains on their clothes or their scuffed shoes.

It may be wise to get feedback from a visual person if you recognize that you are not giving too much thought to your appearance or you don’t think it matters too much to others.

The first thing that hiring managers scrutinize when you walk into that room is your appearance and posture.  First impressions do count, and as a job seeker, you may be doing yourself harm if you fail to groom yourself properly before attending interviews.

Here are some more reasons why mature job seekers benefit from taking their personal grooming more seriously.

1. It makes you feel more confident

Knowing that you have made an effort helps you to have a positive mindset and you are projecting yourself as being worthy of being hired.  The areas to consider are a smart haircut or hairstyle, trimmed facial hair for men, and clean and well-presented clothes that fit the type of role you are seeking.

2. Makes you look responsible and alert

No hiring manager wants to hire an irresponsible person.  How you dress and your grooming reflects your approach to your work and other responsibilities.  Proper dressing implies professionalism.

3.  Makes you look more valuable

There have been studies that show that better-dressed job applicants are offered more money in salary negotiations.  Professional salespeople dress very smartly because it makes them feel more influential.  They call it “power dressing”.  Posture is also related to value.  If you “walk tall” and walk quickly with a sense of purpose, people will notice that you look like you are important and your time is valuable.

4.  Showcases a high level of seriousness

Hiring managers are looking for applicants who demonstrate their interest in the vacancy, the company, and how they can be of service and add extra value because of their unique skills and experience.   The right mindset for applicants is that you expect that, (in this or for another position in the future), you will get hired because you are valuable and you know your value.   
See the article on Defining your personal brand in the job marketplace.

5.  Consider the message of your body language

A lot of information between people occurs in non-verbal ways.  There are cues given about how one person really thinks about something by the way they sit and use their arms.  Arms crossed can signal defensiveness and leaning away can show a lack of interest.   Smiling, eye contact, a firm handshake and open gestures with hands can show that you are a person who is happy to meet them and welcomes their discussion.

6.  Fitting into the existing work culture is the goal

Ageism can exist in the hiring process because applicants are sometimes not seen as a fit for the existing culture.  However, people can look tired and neglected at any age and this will drain the energy of those around them.  It may take a bit more effort to be seen as a person who still retains life’s vibrancy and has a spring in their step.   But these people give energy, radiate goodwill and are a joy to have around.  

If your skills are up-to-date, your resume is professional and you are a serious contender for vacancies, you are more likely to be seen as a welcome addition to any team if your personal persona of grooming, posture and attitude are also working in your favor.