Over my time as a business owner (…now in my 32 year of having my own business) I have employed a variety of staff, some have been good, some have been bad …and some have been downright bonkers.
Currently we have a great team…but experience tells me not to relax….anything could happen …and probably will.
We have been interviewing recently and the experience always opens my eyes as to how people present themselves. Some people come along dressed very casually and others make an effort and put on a suit.
Now this does give me a dilemma – as a registered ‘punk’ during the 1970’s and 80’s …I totally rebelled against societies strict rules on what you could and couldn’t wear. I worked for Oldham Metropolitan Borough Council and was known as ‘pinky’ – this being due to the colour of my Mohican hair cut at the time – I typically wore Doc Martins boots and shorts, with a T shirt emblazoned with whatever my favourite band was at the time.
BUT…let’s be clear here, I worked my ass off.
I was a junior landscape architect working for a very workshy boss who just wanted an easy life, had no design skills and couldn’t tell one plant from another. His apathy was my opportunity to get to work on projects that I was probably both inexperienced and under qualified to do.
…nobody in their right mind would have allowed a junior designer to create a new layout for the town centre – luckily for me, my boss wasn’t in his right mind – so I got to play with a huge budget and put in some funky details that were well ahead of their time.
The point I’m making here is that you can’t always judge a book by its cover. Anybody who went on first impressions would have run a mile from me and would probably thought I was an escapee from the local asylum.
So…how can I be such a hypocrite as to expect my team (and any interviewees) to all conform to standard ideas of dress code and behaviour?
I think what it comes down to is showing a bit of ‘respect’.
When I got the job in Oldham I dyed my hair brown and put on a shirt and tie – I made an effort to appear normal – I then gradually introduced the ‘real’ me over a period of months when people had realised that I was hard working and conscientious.
When people come for an interview with me – I do expect them to make an effort, check out our website, put on something reasonably smart, make an effort – show that you CARE.
Once you’ve established yourself in your new role …then you can begin to relax…until then it’s a shirt with a tie and a smart pair of shoes*….sorry.
NB* NO TRAINERS