A hidden source of power- your jacket


In the summer, recruiters at The Bagg Group sometimes have to walk a fine line.

Here’s what we win awards for — matchmaking.  It’s been 45+ years that The Bagg Group recruiters have been in the business of making happy relationships between people and companies.  And how do we do this?  We talk (or rather, we listen) to clients and candidates about their experience, skills, interests, hopes, likes, dislikes, and values.

But when temperatures soar, we often have to address another topic that’s a little out of left field for us – fashion.

We have to talk clothes.

  • Everyone wears spaghetti straps –can I wear them to an interview or when I’m at work? Nah, not a good idea.
  • You wouldn’t seriously expect me to wear a jacket to the interview do you in this heat wave? Never! Carry it to the interview – but wear it when you get to the office.
  • Flimsy sundresses are really in – are you saying I can’t be fashionable? We’ll explain.
  • It’s the dog days of summer, does it really matter what I wear? Yep, it does.

As you kick off your flip-flops to wear real shoes for your interview, know that there’s a big upside:  Your choice of what you wear gives you a lot of control.

Check out these facts that will surprise and empower you:

What you wear affects the way you interact:

There’s a fascinating study that shows when participants were told to wear what they believed were doctors’ white lab coats, they concentrated on tasks longer, and found it easier to stay focused. They focused less, and were more easily distracted, when they were wearing what they were told were painters’ white coats.

  • The research suggests what you wear can make you feel more –or less — alert and present.

You’ve heard of power poses, clothing choices empowers too

We’ve written how the pose you strike affects your sense of your own power.  The same applies to the clothing you chose to wear.

A large study from North Illinois University found when people wore professional clothes they felt more sure of their own competence, reliability, and trustworthiness than when they wore sweats or rumpled clothing.

  • You’ll feel more competent when you wear that jacket than when you don’t. And we project out what we feel inside.

What we see is what we judge – in 3 seconds:

First impressions saved the caveman– as in, hold up, I’m not going near that sabre-tooth cat. And that primal instinct still informs our decision-making today. Studies show we get snap impressions of people in three seconds, or less.

In one major research project, hundreds of people looked at pictures of women who were said to be in management. Their findings?

Women pictured in shorter skirts and with more open-buttoned shirts were instantly rated as less confident, less trustworthy, less responsible, and thought to have less authority.

Same goes for men.  People looked unknowingly at pictures of the same men (faces were blurred) dressed in disheveled suits and crisp suits. Those in the pressed suits rated much higher on confidence, flexibility, success and earnings.

Why let a t-shirt or flip-flops close doors for you?!:

On average, six out of 10 hiring managers say the way a person dresses has a big impact on their employability, according to North American and British surveys.  Respondents said they feel a person’s choice of wardrobe is a big clue about their professional judgment.

So take this test:  Should you wear any of the following to an interview?  (1 point for yes, 2 points for no)

  • Hawaiian or any loud shirts
  • Jeans
  • Shorts
  • Spaghetti straps or anything with cut-outs
  • T-shirts with sayings  (funny or not)
  • T-shirts –without a jacket of some sortsocks and sandals
  • Tennis shoes, shorts, cap…anything tennis related …or anything hat related (including headbands and sunglasses on head)
  • Yoga pants or anything you’d wear to a gym, dance class or dance club
  • Over-the-top, in-your-face,  jewellery]
  • Sandals  –don’t even ask about socks with sandals!

If you scored under 18What a strange power in dress — run, don’t walk, back home and change.

Consider these tips:

Learn from the celebs:  Our clothes are part of our personal brand. But consider the ultimate self-branders. They show up on the red carpet in clothes that match the occasion. Same idea applies at work – dress for the time and place.

Look up how the people you’re interviewing dress. Check out pictures of people at the company you’re interested in on social media sites, including Linkedin and company websites. And until they get to know you, and you get to know them, dress in a similar same manner as they do.

Don’t dress down if you’re interviewing on a casual Friday. . You’ll find those who have to see clients that day won’t either. And a great workplace tip for casual Friday – see what the bosses are wearing, and follow their cues. Things like dressing in a way that would be considered inappropriate, consciously or not, affects your reputation.

You’re not alone! At The Bagg Pro, Bagg Technology Resources, Bagg @ Your Service, Bagg Managed Resources and Turn Key Staffing we can offer this small consolation for having to sweat it out in professional clothes. We have to walk the talk too.

We work with the best companies in the GTA to place talented people in full-time, contract and temporary positions. We have to represent our candidates well.  Even on casual Fridays at the office, we go informal, but we don’t dress as if it’s a day at the beach.

Our last bit of encouragement on the subject: You may have been less comfortable on the way over to the interview than the candidate sitting next to you in shorts and Birkenstocks – but for hiring managers, you are so more the cool one.












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