You only get one chance to make a first impression. Barbara Corcoran has thoughts on how to make the most of it.
As a real estate entrepreneur, she’s acclimated to dressing for success. And as a television host and public speaker, Corcoran is used to being in the public eye. So it’s no surprise that she has strong opinions on interviewees’ appearances. “You should be wearing clothing that dresses you for the part that you want,” she says in a recent episode of her “Business Unusual” podcast, while offering advice to young job seekers.
She adds that less experienced interview subjects — on top of noting the speed of their speech and sharing anecdotes that speak to their maturity — should “edit” their wardrobes for the job. “If that requires that you dress a little bit older, by all means, go out and buy that ‘old’ outfit.”
One thing Corcoran suggest leaving out, though? High heels. “[A]nyone who dresses in a pair of high heels and clomps [sic] into an interview isn’t going to work very hard once they get the job,” she says. She freely admits that she “might be right … might be wrong” in her assumption, but nonetheless suggests swapping in more sensible shoes for critical meetings. “How you physically represent yourself in an interview counts for a lot,” she says.
High heels have often been at the center of workplace debates, in light of corporate policies that mandate them and studies that show Corcoran is far from alone in her opinions on them. Yet when looking for who to hire, the experts we’ve spoken with offered other traits — beyond footwear — to keep an eye out for.
For example, Deborah Sweeney of MyCorporation.com suggests looking at applicants’ emotional intelligence. “The traditional thinking is that people with high IQs are the brightest in the room,” she says. “But with emotional intelligence, the idea is that people who possess four core skills — self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, and relationship management — are actually the top performers.”
Nell Merlino of Born Worthy, meanwhile, advises entrepreneurs to focus first on what they offer to job seekers, to attract the cream of the crop to your company. “People want to work on something that is bigger than themselves,” she says. “Build and describe your company’s mission with a larger purpose, always show people respect, and you’ll find loyal employees.”
Do you agree or disagree with Corcoran? Let us know below!