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  Thursday, December 18th   

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Do YOU dress to impress??

Ashling McWilliam for local2 sault ste. marie
November 21st, 2011 at 10:57am



This article is a column or editorial.
The opinions expressed here are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of LOCAL2.

clothesIt was 11:45 Friday morning, I was cutting garnishes in preparation for the lunch rush and my manager was organizing the floor plan. In walks a beautiful young girl with her resume. She walks straight towards me and introduces herself, smiles and asks to speak with my manager. By this time, I had already been working at the establishment for over three years, so I knew my floor manager’s quirks and pet peeves very well. I glanced over at her and was responded with a firm shake of the head, “No”. A little bit disappointed, I turned to the girl and offered to take her resume for the time being, but explained that unfortunately, our manager would not be able to speak with her at the moment.

This applicant seemed to do everything right, so why do you think my manager did not want to speak with her?

#1 She walked into the restaurant at prime busy time! Dropping off resumes during lunch or dinner hours is a big no-no when you’re looking for employment opportunities within the restaurant industry.

#2 She was a beautiful, qualified young girl, but she wasn’t dressed appropriately. Her bra straps were showing and she had holes in her jeans. This may not seem like a deciding factor to all of us, but to my manager, she was an immediate NO.

This confident young girl may have had excellent customer service experience and the perfect personality but unfortunately for her, first impressions with my manager were all about appearances. Ideally we would all be evaluated based on our experience, ability and the skills set we have developed, however most first impressions are made within the first 5 seconds and tend to be based on one’s outward appearance and smile. You may be thinking this is a bit extreme, “Just because of holes in her jeans, but that’s the style!” If you sat down for a meal at Giovanni’s would you be skeptical if your server was wearing a uniform with holes and armpit sweat stains? Of course you would, you’d wonder about your food!

Appearances are paramount in the hiring decision. Small tank tops and bra straps might fly when applying to certain places, but the best way to know is by scoping out the environment first, prior to walking in with your resume. Eat at that restaurant! Walk through that organization as a private citizen and check out how they present themselves. My rule of thumb is “One Step Up.” If staff are wearing jeans and t-shirts, I would wear dress pants and a collared shirt. If staff at the organization wear business casual attire, I would aim at wearing professional casual attire.

The same rule applies to men. If you are applying to a construction company where work boots, overalls or coveralls are required, you may not want to show up in a staunch suit and tie. This leaves the impression that you aren’t the type of person who is willing to get grungy.

My best advice is to always try on your ENTIRE outfit prior to interview day. This way you can scope out any flaws or weaknesses in your appearance. Avoid extremes, and if you have to ask the question, “Can I wear this?” The answer is probably “NO!”

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