Dressing For Work – Looking The Part
I had a manager once who was a real mover and shaker in HR, brilliant in strategy and amazing to work with. Although visionary in his business outlook, there were some basic things that could really set him off when meeting new people: things like scruffy shoes. You could see his eyes wander down and flinch at anything un-kept, unpolished or just unsuitable for a work environment. No matter how good the person would be, you knew that they had a long distance to cover if they wanted to fix that bad first impression with him.
I don’t need to tell you to be sensitive in how you present yourself when going to an interview, a client visit or making your sales pitch to the Board. However, does that mean that a conservative suit (male or female version) is needed or do you need to be a lot smarter about it all?
Dressing for work – better to play it safe
Organizations differ in terms of the formality in culture and different roles with the same company may have different standards of dress and presentation. Dressing in your pinstripe when visiting a start-up could make you (and them) feel very uncomfortable, while your dark dyed jeans with a crisp white shirt will not necessarily impress the bank manager.
Preparation may be key to attune your looks to the company you are visiting. It may be as simple as checking out their website which quite often shows pictures, talk to somebody you know at the organisation or if you happen to pass by the office before the big meet…look what people coming out are wearing. And then check your closet to see whether you match just the right look for your meeting.
When in doubt, it’s always better to arrive slightly overdressed than under-dressed. Your first outfit (especially if this is for an interview) should be more formal than what you would wear when working in the company longer term.
An alternative way to go is not to adapt at all. This is what I do. I aim for my own brand style (which does require buying an obscene amount of dresses each year) and apply that brand when visiting any of my clients (even those where the dress code is quite different from my brand). You can get away with this as long as you follow a few key rules:
- Be consistent (my clients have never seen me in jeans and there are no off-days);
- Have a polished look (yes, even casual attire means clean and ironed); and
- Make sure you are able to pull it off (so if you are going for the 7inch court heels, you better have that balance for a full day in the office).
A recruiter once told me that he instructed all applicants to stick to “blues and greys” and down dress the frills, make-up and jewelry. I don’t believe in this. Like I said, consistency is key. Make sure your professional image matches with how you want to be seen. If the color red brings out your creative side and that is needed for this role, go for it. If wearing a tie makes you feel powerful, why not? However as with most things in life, don’t over or under do it. Your perfect first impression can be thoroughly wrecked by a waft of too strong perfume, your loud make-up or your great-for-the-club-but-perhaps-not-for-business shiny buckle on the belt. Or, like with my boss, those scuff marks on the shoes that just scream out for a little bit of polish.
None of this is a taste or style discussion, you really need to consider attention spans here. Any distraction will take the attention away from what you want to show that person on the other side of the table: I am professional and very able! You want to work with me/do business with me or take my advice.
YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE
GDPR for Payments GDPR is an important EU wide regulatory mandate. It provides increased protection of individual privacy and gives individuals more control over the information they share. In our view GDPR is an important element of building a scalable data centric...read more
US Supreme Court repeal of PASPA On Monday, May 14, 2018, the Supreme Court of the United States held in the Murphy v. National Collegiate Athletic Association case that the federal Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (“PASPA”) violated the Tenth Amendment...read more
MasterCard introduces changes for subscription and card on file transactions that will help to significantly increase online merchant’s revenues Recurring (subscription) and returning (card on file) transactions are a growing part of online merchant revenue streams....read more
GROPAY'S 5 TIPS FOR THE HOLIDAY SEASON With all the preparations for the holiday, last week deadlines, the multitude of drinks, parties, last minute shopping as well as high expectations from family and friends, it is easy to get lost in this busy time before the...read more
THE PAYMENT CHALLENGES OF OTAs Who hasn’t used an online travel agency (OTA) in the last 12 months? They are an integral part of our lives and are part of a colossal $600 billion + a year online travel market. The OTA industry is at a juncture where it faces some...read more
Strong Customer Authentication (SCA) - Impact on Online Merchants The details around the European Banking Authority (EBA’s) proposal for Strong Customer Authentication (SCA) are final and the requirements for SCA are expected to come into force by February 2019. What...read more
Did Star Trek predict bitcoins and what does it mean for the future? If you are like me, a Star Trek fan then it’s interesting to note that many of the futuristic technologies and gadgets used on the show have come true or are close to coming true. This is likely more...read more
India Makes Important Advances in Biometric Payments In India it’s already possible for a consumer to authorise and authenticate a payment with their fingerprint or iris scan. As a largely cash based economy India has leapfrogged the use of Cards and Smart Phones for...read more
How do bitcoins impact online merchants? There’s a lot that has been said and written about bitcoins. They are the talk of the town these days. Undoubtedly bitcoins and related distributed ledger technologies will have a lasting impact on payments and financial...read more
PSD2 What Will Really Change? There has been a lot written about the PSD2 and rightly so, it is important regulation soon to be enacted into legislation that will bring significant innovation and change to electronic payments. But what will actually change in the day...read more
SafeCharge 3 Years After IPO In this post we look at SafeCharge, a medium sized payment processor and recently formed acquirer. We look at the following items; history, the IPO, recent performance, drivers of growth so far, recent strategic moves and execution...read more
The Stamina of Clinton Or Trump There have been lot of comments made by presidential candidate Donald Trump triggering a lot of media attention and public debates recently. Not the most notorious comment, but still one that made me pause in the work I was doing....read more
GDPR - Data Protection Gets Serious On 14 April 2016, the EU Parliament adopted the long awaited General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) The GDPR will have considerable impact on all companies that provide goods or services to Europe, regardless of the company’s...read more
Authentication - Payer! Reveal Thyself EPC releases results of latest consultations for e-mandate today: what does this mean for authentication and your online business? Earlier today, 5 April 2016, the European Payments Council (EPC) announced the launch of the...read more
Fantasy Sports - It's All A Fantasy Fantasy Sports continue to gain popularity California recently introduced a bill to allow online sports betting. The motivation of this bill is believed to be the increasing popularity of fantasy sports. Although, the bill has yet...read more
Cash - Kicking The Habit There was an interesting article in The Economist recently about strikes on the London Underground (Tube). Such strikes are commonly believed to have a short term net cost to the economy. However the article quoted a study by Oxford and...read more
Data Protection - To Russia With Love Data Protection Russia Russia’s new data protection law came into effect on the 1st of September 2015. It’s now required by law to store personal details of Russian citizens on servers physically located in Russia. Copies of the...read more
Are Tattoos ever OK at work? I was HR Director at a large organization when I suddenly completely got caught by a curb ball thrown by one of my main stakeholders. “What is our HR policy on tattoos?” I had to take a two second pause before responding with a gigantic...read more
Wirecard with a market value of $ 5.2 billion made a $9 billion bid for Worldpay. Is this a serious bid? What will Wirecard do with Worldpay? Wirecard has extensive experience with M&A and also in acquiring companies larger than itself and making it a success; as many...read more
Changing jobs - How long should you stay in your current job? In this day and age, most employees are not even aware that organisations used to have tenure incentives like a fancy watch, a toaster or at least a bunch of flowers when you reached your 20 or 25 years of...read more
Distracted Living Psychology Today published an interesting blog on distracted living. Distracted living is where you miss out on much of your life because you generally aren’t paying attention, or your attention is so torn in many directions that your really do not...read more
Is Visa worried about Paypal? Visa recently published a report on Visa Checkout in which they stated that Visa Checkout delivers 17% better conversion than Paypal. One of the interesting points about this report is that Visa considers Paypal as enough of a threat to...read more
How do I deal with my company going through a merger or acquisition? Working in the payments sector? There is a big chance that your company is engaged in a merger, is taking over another company or is about to become an acquisition. 2014 was a big year for payments...read more