Good looks a two-edged sword?

11 more days to my interview and I still do not know what to wear. I can hear all the guys out there groaning when they read this sentence. At this very moment they are thinking, How typically female! It’s always, “Honey! I have nothing to wear!” Then explain to me why the ceiling of the apartment below ours is practically sagging under the weight of your wardrobe? Hear is what I have to say to all those men; first this blog is not about what you assume it is about and second I will blog about being typically female soon.

My indecision has only in part to do with the fact that first impressions matter the most and that I have to look the part of a Project Manager. What other considerations are there when it comes to dressing up for an interview? Well, a conversation I had with 2 examiners last month keeps going through my mind and what they said to me is making it difficult for me to go for a particular look.

As part of my IPMA Level C certification process last December, I had to go through a one day Assessment Centre. When I am wearing casual clothes, I tend to be estimated as being way younger than I really am. Therefore I decided to dress up to look more mature and create a commanding presence. I wore a black pencil skirt that was at least 10 cm below my knees and paired it with a white blouse. I skipped make-up and additional accessories to avoid overkill.

If you asked me to rate my looks I would see myself as being slightly above average looking. I guess the way I view myself has been shaped by the fact that I have 2 sisters and while we were still young; I was just Irene, while one sister was always described as beautiful and the other as being cute. Therefore you can imagine my surprise when one of the examiners commented the following day during the final interview session that I have to downplay my looks! Otherwise I risk being put into the pretty face drawer. Of course everyone knows that you cannot be brainy and beautiful at the same time. At least most people have a difficult time accepting that.

Huh? Did I hear you right? Thank you for the compliment though. I guess my looks are exotic in Germany and as a result I am perceived differently as compared to back at home. But how can I downplay something I did not even up-play? Anyway weren’t good looking people supposed to have it easier in life? That is the message communicated in the media. Why should my supposedly good looks be a hindrance to my finding a job?

Thus I googled the terms “good looking” and “career” and came across 2 interesting articles. One was a summary of a study recently published by Professor Pfeifer and his team in Germany (Hall, 2011). The study found a connection between good looks and success in one’s professional life. All is well after reading that. Another blog I read made a further distinction between the sex of the interviewer and interviewee. It seems that female interviewers tend to offer good looking men better remuneration packages as compared to average looking men. However they were not that benevolent towards good looking women. (Talk about envious backstabbing b*%$#es!) Such biasness was not observed with male interviewers though. They gave low paying packages to all. (What a miser!)

Am I enlightened after this research and closer to finding the perfect interview outfit? I would have to answer that with a conclusive No! What do I plan to do now? After all I have to wear something to the interview. (Yes I have to. I am not applying for a position in a nudist camp. Which is a shame because it would have resolved the issue of what am I to wear to the interview.)

Well, I plan on being myself. That is my safest bet and anyway I cannot be anything else on such short notice.
Honey! I need to go shopping because I have nothing suitable to wear for the interview!

References

Hall, A. (2011, December 21). Mail Online. Retrieved February 05, 2012, from http://bit.ly/rJkhxn
Science Blog. Retrieved February 05, 2012, http://scienceblog.com/14974/who-knew-good-looking-people-get-better-jobs/

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