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Does an image slip-up mean an end of candidate’s chances?

Publication date: Thursday, November 7, 2013
Does an image slip-up mean an end of candidate’s chances? Author: Monika Ciesielska, president of Carpenter Consulting, for Personel i Zarządzanie

In the course of our recent recruitment process for the position of a retail sales director for a large retail network, we have invited a candidate with a very strong CV. He seemed ideal. However, when he entered the room, it turned out that his clothes were surprisingly inappropriate. What should we do when somebody’s appearance does not correspond to the target position? How to make a fair assessment of such a candidate?

‘Unfortunately, difficult cases happen. In many positions, presentation is as important as competencies held, however, not everybody seems to keep that in mind. Recently, when compiling a shortlist of candidates, I had to answer this question for myself – should I recommend a candidate who has all the competencies and relevant experience sought by the Client when her appearance leaves much to be desired? The candidate was to work closely with the president of one of the largest international banks. Ill-advised wardrobe, creased clothes, unruly hair and unkempt hands. I started to think then if this, to some extent, did not point to the lack of being organized, the lack of foresight or the lack of respect towards a conversation partner. Or perhaps it was a bad day for a busy mom who had had a sleepless night before because her child was sick and she did her best to make it to the meeting regardless as the job was important to her? Both are possible.’

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