known to me then as “headhunting” circa 1995. Like a bright eyed novice I was
eager to serve my clients and candidates above and beyond the call of duty. I
was always willing to go that extra mile-Literally! One of them lived almost 3
hours away from the job interview; and, I didn’t want anything to chance this candidate not getting this job; so, I
arranged to pick him up and drive him to this prospective employer.
The gentleman was from India, having recently emigrated. He was a highly trained specialist for high-tech
machinery used within the manufacturing process. There were very few Canadians
at the time trained in this new technology, and none of them lived in Toronto. A real needle in
the haystack. We were both very excited about making a good first impression.
I was pleasantly surprised to see how well dressed he appeared when picking him
up. Wearing a black suit, black pants, black tie; and, with a freshly pressed
gleaming white shirt. I had prepared him and myself for this magical moment.
Nothing, but nothing was going to stand in our way. He was psyched and I was
psyched. We were both elated. And during the drive over I coached him on
possible scenarios and questions he would need to be aware of – his interpersonal
skills were great so I felt he was ready.
Upon our arrival at this giant plant he got out of my car and made his way to the
front doors. I watched him like a proud father sending his kid off to school
for the first time. When to my horror, I saw something that made me immediately
call after him. His pants were slightly short and I noticed his exposed socks.
I almost turned the same color as his socks; they were white!
I couldn’t let him go into this interview wearing white sports socks. NO WAY! There was
no time to go and get him another pair. The clock was ticking, he needed to go
in 9 minutes (odd that I remember that) I had to think fast. I was wearing
black socks. Hmm…Why not wear my black ones over your white ones I eagerly
suggested? He quickly put them on and made his way inside.
The time slowly dragged on, too slow for my liking. Each minute seemed to last an
eternity. Finally, he emerged from the building and made his way back to the
car. I could see a smile develop on his face as he approached. He got the job,
because he made a great first impression.
The moral of my story, is that if you want to make that first lasting impression
last beyond the interview, be prepared to dress for success; by conforming to
the existing standards and traditions of what is and what isn’t acceptable in a
particular industry. Always err on the side of caution, I always recommend you
dress to the 9’s for your first interview, if you get a second interview then consider
the option to go business casual.