I often talk in my articles about how much the external image counts today, in particular about how our look should really be a mirror of our personality to represent us and give back to our interlocutor the truth of who we are, of our identity.
“be yourself.the world worships the original”. (I. Bergam)
Each of us is rich in a thousand shades and there is a rising tendency not to pigeonhole people according to stereotypes, but our style sometimes runs the risk of making us fall into the classic clichés, preventing us from emerging, especially if we live in certain contexts or we work in specific professional environments.
We know that aligning with the group standard is unconsciously a way to feel more confident and expressing our uniqueness frightens us because we do not know if we will have the recognition of the others and their approval.
Some say ‘I do not care’ and certainly many people are stuck in this regard.
Many people say it but then don’t do it because they inevitably get influenced by their sensitivity, by the people around them, by the work they do.
Well, speaking of work, I wondered several times how much the external image counts in job interviews and then in office life.
When i started to seek employment more than twenty years ago, i remember that a friend of mine said ‘you cannot go to a job interview without wearing a SUIT! ’
And that’s how I bought the first suit of my life, indeed of a bad color for me: brown. Far away from enhancing not only my shape, but also my soul! Errors of youth.
I felt like a fish out of water because – beyond my young age – it did not correspond to me.
Yet I knew that those who were in charge of Human Resources took appearance in great consideration.
I use the term “appearance” intentionally because, as I wrote in another article, for me appearance is synonymous with mystification, cheat.
Image is indeed the result of the research that we all make on our Identity, which is in turn a synthesis of form (outward appearance) and content (what we are).
Today, however, how important is a candidate’s image for recruiters, employment agencies, Human Resources supervisors?
I asked Elisa Zonca, Manager & Career Advisor Youth@Work (Randstad HR Solutions).
Surely the care of one’s own image is always very important but while in the past the concept of elegance was much more static and “mono-connotation”, it is now more versatile and syntonicif compared first of all with the self and then with the context.
For example, I work in a very dynamic and colorful environment where the relational dimension is fundamental so it is certainly important that my image is consistent with the internal context, in compliance with the sobriety and the potential of multi-stakeholder relationships that are being built from time to time.
I think that the attention to ourselves is the best business card we can convey as nobody likes to sit in front of a careless person who has really spent little time in the taste of beauty.
And as PeppinoImpastato said
“IF you taught beauty to people, you would provide them with a weapon against resignation, fear and silence.”
Does caring for our image become a real incentive also to establish ourselves in a professionalcontext?
I believe that “the non-verbal elegance” including all the various aspects of a pleasing image will trigger a self-fulfilling prophecy: if we feel better, we can also be more confident and positively establish ourselves in the workplace.
How do the HR functions or realities like yours behave in front of a talented and promising young man but obviously ‘eccentric, creative’ (clothes and special accessories, tattoos, colored hair)?
It all really depends on the task: the greater the dose of autonomy, creativity and modernity of the organization, the greater the degree of freedom of expression that is tolerated and granted. The question must also be asked in reverse: if I have an eclectic and nonconformist personality, how interested and willing am I to work in a rigid and traditional context?
In general, in work contexts, is the personality of the individual or the respect of the dress code policies privileged?
The personality is more and moreat the center of the attention of those who deal with human resources.
However, I do not see the two as separate aspects since within the personality there is also the dimension of emotional and social intelligence that is essential for the harmony between the internal and external environment. According to a recent research of the World Economic Forum, intelligence is ranked sixth among the top 10 skills required by the labor market in 2020. And this is no wonder.
Therefore, in my humble opinion, dress code is certainly important as the tip of a much deeper and more rooted iceberg that denotes (or not) the possession of a certain personal characteristic that finds its strength in its real authenticity (or less).
Do Dress Code corporate programs exist?Is it a deeply felt or an overshadowed topic?
I am talking of course about the reality I know: we prefer to talk about standing and the ability to relate to the context rather than dress code as we care a lot about the fact that our colleagues feel at ease, also in terms of diversity, a very important theme for our company.
Are there any market sectors more sensitive than others to the ‘image’ theme? For example, the banks?
As already mentioned, undoubtedly the more traditional sectors are more conservative as regards etiquette even if lately they are also revolutionizing not only in terms of dress code but in a broader sense of “visual” (I refer, in particular, to architecture and the interior layout) that aims at creating a more friendly environment. It follows that even employees are led to feel freer to express themselves also from the clothing point of view.
Beyond the basic rules to attend an interview or to be consistent with one’s workplace, do you think that helping an individual find their own style, be it an employee or freelancer, can help them have an easier path?
Surely because self-confidence is the most important ingredient to win over (win through) and practice a healthy internal and external ecology.
MAYBE NOT EVERYONE KNOWs THAT MY ACTIVITY OF IMAGE consultant also develops IN COMPANY CONTEXTS wHERE I ORGANIZE WORKSHOPs DEDICATED TO image MANAGEMENT.
And I must say that what Elisa Zonca declares corresponds to my experience and confirms that more and more today, in a highly heterogeneous and globalized world, we cannot generalize, nor bring the topic back to very narrow grids (rules) because we would trivialize the topic itself.
Searching for one’s own Identity (knowing oneself) and consequently for one’s own style should always be a “must”.
These are the foundations to be successful and only from here you can start to build a path that allows you to harmonize your individuality with the outside world, whether it is personal and professional life.
Enhancing your image is the strongest communication tool you can use!