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How to Dress for an Interview

Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter explains the importance of appearance on income and offers suggestions about what you can do.



I was listening to a podcast this morning on Freakonomics radio there was about the impact of appearance on income. I know this and impact of appearance on hiring, too.

The show started off by talking about earnings of NFL quarterbacks (for those of you outside of the US, they are referring to American professional football). It is clear from the show that the income of the NFL quarterback who look better than the average was much higher than the income of the average or, shall we say, less attractive quarterback. There is one exception of a relatively junior quarterback who, because of the pay structure in the NFL, is unable to earn market value as of yet.

How does this relate to interviewing?

In the society at large there is a bias toward better looking people. Before you men think you have it better than when, you are absolutely wrong. Statistically, the bias is more profound with men than with women.

With women, the show reports, that they are more aware of the impact of their appearance on everything that they do. Thus, they are very focused on that. In the statistics for men, those who were less handsome or “didn’t look as well,” earned 8% less then better looking people. There was one exception (one that I consider it humorous one) and that was with thugs where being downright ugly was a professional advantage for them.

For most of us, however, being average looking has a financial impact upon us. Now to be clear, I’m not suggesting that all of us go out and get plastic surgery.

However, particularly from then, who habitually undervalue this, it is important to present yourself extremely well. It is about your wardrobe, your grooming, and everything else that peripherally relates to your presentation and not your competence.

Unfortunately too few people do enough about this.

Now, to be clear I am not suggesting that you go out and buy a $10,000 suit unless you can afford it. I’m not suggesting that you get plastic surgery. There are grooming things and, I know women are going to laugh as they listen to this, that you can no longer be oblivious to.

You know the shined shoes, the dirty fingernails, the ear and nose hairs, your wardrobe, of course …. There are a whole host of things that take people away from paying attention to what is really important (whether you can helps them or not).

As one of my guests on Job Search Radio said, there are people who are very well dressed for the 1990s.. You need to update your wardrobe to look proper for the times.

When all is said and done, if you can afford to forget about 8% of your income, by all means ignore these suggestions. However, over the course of your career, that’s a very expensive decision you’ve made. After all, this translates into several hundred thousand dollars . . . Unless of course you’re independently wealthy and can afford to forget about all that money.

So do the things to take care of your grooming and appearance. Take care of yourself. Try to keep your weight down, especially if you’re out of work. Stay out of the refrigerator. Don’t do things that are going to put pounds on you and cause your wardrobe to look poorly on you. You don’t want to wear clothing that doesn’t fit properly on you do you? You don’t want people to look at you and think you are grotesque.


Do you think employers are trying to help you? You already know you can’t trust recruiters—they tell as they think you need to know to take the job they after representing so they collect their payday.

The skills needed to find a job are different yet complement the skills needed to do a job.

Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter has been a career coach and recruiter for what seems like one hundred years. is there to change that with great advice for job hunters—videos, my books and guides to job hunting, podcasts, articles, PLUS a community for you to ask questions of PLUS the ability to ask me questions where I function as your ally with no conflict of interest answering your questions.

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