GUEST BLOG: Appearance in the workplace

UoY Careers Balloon illy Guest blog written by Katie Bolton, Content & Online PR Executive for Search Laboratory

If you think appearance doesn’t count at work, think again. Whilst it’s your productivity that’s the most important thing, your appearance has an immediate impact on your co-workers, including your bosses.

Many companies have relaxed their dress codes, making casual attire increasingly acceptable but it can be tricky to understand the unwritten rules of the importance of your appearance. Transform Medical Group recently spoke with an Image Consultant, a Male Fashion Blogger and a HR Consultant to find out their attitudes towards appearances in the working environment.

Tips on what to wear

Sandra Beale a HR Consultant gives her perspective about what to wear to an interview.

‘Wearing a matching suit and polished shoes is the ideal outfit to give a great first impression, ensuring that shirts and blouses are stain free and ironed. Never wear jeans to an interview as they make the outfit look tired and untidy.’

Another alternative view was from image consultant Sam Belle, who explained that the industry you’re going to be working in has a sizable impact on how you should adapt your appearance.

‘It’s vital that you familiarise yourself with the dress code of the company interviewing you.  If they are a suit and tie company, then this is what you must wear.  However, you will look overdressed if they are a very casual business. Wear something that is smart but that you feel comfortable in.  And never wear a black suit!’

Facial hair advice for men

As a result of current trends, facial hair has grown in popularity significantly but its suitability when it comes to a work environment is a divisive topic.

Jamie Daniel, a blogger from London who works in the fashion industry and who represents the male population that have facial hair gave his opinion on the topic.

‘Working in fashion allows you to be experimental and an individual when it comes to your appearance, having facial hair has been a big part of my identity. A lot of employers are still quite traditional in their approach to appearance, believing in the negative stereotypes that are associated with facial hair as being untidy, lazy and work shy. If you decide on having facial hair within the working environment my advice would be to keep it neat and well maintained.’

In contrast, Sandra Beale has a very different view about what she believes to be acceptable.

‘Firstly, I would advise anyone going for a job interview to shave off any facial hair and ensure that you are neatly groomed, as this shows you have made an effort with your appearance. To me it comes across as though they can’t be bothered to shave and therefore are lazy’

The opinions are mixed and there are some interesting points about what is acceptable when it comes to your appearance within the workplace. Some professions have restrictions in place because of health and safety requirements, but in other industries the decision is far less clear-cut. It is important to understand the company and job position you are going to be interviewed for so as to ensure you fit within their expectations – we advise doing as much research as possible before the interview.

Good Luck!

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