Call me old fashioned, but what price a razor?


I have only seen two episodes of this seasons The Apprentice.  The first one and the last one.  I am in no position therefore to comment on the qualities of the participants, (although I do take issue as to whether we really are seeing 16 of Britain’s best business brains).  Nonetheless congratulations to the winner Stella English, she has on the strength of her biography triumphed over much adversity in her life, all credit her.

Call me old-fashioned but what really got me fired up last night was the apparent lack of a razor in The Apprentice house.  All that luxury, no expense spared to give the participants a taste of the high life and yet not so much as a Gillette disposable to be found anywhere.

If you are going along for a job interview, regardless of whether that interview is for a job paying a 6 figure salary or not, have a shave.  Just simply putting on a tie is not enough.  Get a haircut, have a shave, polish your shoes, look the part.  You only get one opportunity to make a good first impression.  Never is this statement more true than in a job interview.

I was struck by the differences in appearance between the male and female participants.  The women were (in my humble opinion!) immaculate.  Smart, polished, ready for business.  They looked serious contenders for a job.

If you have made your millions (or billions), if you are the person making the decision, you have earned the right to appear exactly as you would wish to.  Your impression is already made, your brand already established.

Get through the door and deliver consistently great outcomes.  Make yourself indispensable, then by all means grow a beard.  Sir Alan sports a beard and is always immaculately turned out.  I am not talking about beards.  I am talking about 3 or 4 days of stubble.  Not one of these male candidates had earned the right or made themselves indispensable.    Get a razor boys, have a shave, make a great first impression.  It counts.

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5 Comments

Filed under Interviews

5 responses to “Call me old fashioned, but what price a razor?

  1. You are old fashioned! As employers we need to be able to look past the book cover and into the content, a tatty book cover can be redesigned and tidied up. If the content of the book is ill concieved, confused, unstructured we have a lot more work to do. Style over substance? Styles go in and out of fashion, lets focus on the big issues can they or do they have the potentail to do the job.

    • Thank you Rob, you confirmed my view that perhaps I was a little out of touch! I agree with your comments, substance should win out over style every time. However I am sure you would agree that in the sporting world the difference between winning and losing is in the details, in the little steps you take to ensure you maximise your chances of success. You leave no stone unturned to give yourself every chance, never settling for “that’ll do”.

      In the case of the job interview my advice would be anything that can give you the edge over your competition should be paid attention to. That includes being clean shaven, even if the other guy isn’t. My sense is that you are looking at this from the perspective of the coach, manager or leader (as I suspect is Lord Sugar). Take the raw material and create the finished article. Nothing wrong in that.

      I am looking at this from the context of getting a job. In my experience hiring managers are inclined to focus on the small details (handshake, dress, appearance, eye contact). Whether that is right or wrong, it is what happens. For the benefit of the job seeker have a shave, don’t take any chances. Once you are through the door, different story. This is about getting through the door in the first place and in such a competitive jobs market it is the small details that can make the difference.

  2. Darren Barsby

    Don’t judge a book by its cover! Well that’s fine if you are a book or your appearance is the result of other people’s inability to handle you carefully but personal appearance is totally subjective. In the instance of inadequate grooming for an important occassion (whatever that may be), your appearance is not someone elses responsibility.

    Not shaving for an interview is nothing more than a lack of respect; and if you don’t show respect to the person who is onterviewing you, why should they even look beyond your shabby exterior. Moreover it could easily be construed as arrogance “I’m so good I don’t need to bother shaving”. And who would want arrogant employees?

    True that beneath a shabby exterior could be a genious, but if you can’t get up early enough to shave, or be organised enough to buy a razor or you simply can’t be bothered; should you really consider yourself the right person for the job? The result should speak for itself and you shouldn’t be surprised by the outcome. If you are surprised then perhaps a moment or two of self reflection and a little more humility is required.

    On the other hand if your stubble is the interim result of your wanting to grow a legitimate facial adornment then you should either plan it rather better and not look like a hobo at your interview or be up front and explain what you are up to.

    I too must be old fashioned but at least I’m clean shaven!

  3. Darren Barsby

    “Marginal Gains” It’s just as relevant in the business world as it is in sport!

  4. Firstly, I would accept that I am a little old fashioned.
    I have no problem with the current trend of having a four day stubble look as long as it is not four day stubble and is kept groomed. There is a difference between this and not shaving for a few days when the “look” becomes unkempt.
    Why make the interviewer’s task more difficult by making him/her look beyond the cover. The interviewee’s task is to make the decision as easy as possible for the interviewer so why put in potential hurdles when they can so easily be removed?
    It is generally well accepted that first impressions do count. One may not like that but it is human nature and therefore not going to change regardless of fashion.
    If one is not careful standards will always fall to the lowest common denominator.

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