06Jun

If you worry about your appearance before an interview, you’re not alone. A new survey says most of us do. We spend at least an hour deciding on an interview outfit and still 54% of us worry there’s some part of how we look that could cost us the job.

The survey of 1,997 workers found 86% believe it’s important to look attractive to an interviewer; 63% believe they’ve benefited from their appearance. Clothing and weight are two things both men and women worry about most.

As it happens, there’s some truth to thinking appearance is a factor. Making a good first impression does help, researchers have found. No one wants to start an interview having to overcome a negative caused by inappropriate dress or a frumpy appearance.

But should it happen — and it can — don’t despair. Another more detailed study of when interviewers form a hiring opinion tells us it occurs after at least 5 minutes; 40% make a decision about hirability after no less than 15 minutes.

One other finding from the recent worker survey to consider is that 86% of job seekers would prefer to be seen as competent more than likable. That’s truer for men (69%) than women (58%).

Feeling that way would seem to make sense, and certainly, no one thought incompetent is going to get a job offer regardless of how likable they may be. But with teamwork and collaboration so critical in today’s workplace, hiring managers and recruiters are looking for talented people who are also a good fit with the organization and its people. In that way, likability does factor in to a decision.

It’s important, therefore to spend at least as much time — more even — on how you present yourself as you do on what to wear. Check our article on the soft skills candidates need to demonstrate. The ability to communicate clearly and possessing emotional intelligence is what will decide which of two equally skilled people gets the job offer.

Photo by Nimble Made on Unsplash

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Green Key

Chief Marketing Officers in Demand Again

The COVID-19 pandemic may have wreaked havoc on marketing departments, but it did nothing to quell the hiring of chief marketing officers. If anything, it’s likely to have spurred job changes at the most senior marketing level.

Forbes report tells us that in the first half of the year hiring of CMOs was up 15%. “Are you surprised,” asks writer Norm Yustin, “that COVID-19 has had a positive impact on marketing moves?”

Yustin doesn’t directly explain the reasons behind the hiring, but a surge in technology hires points the way. Technology CMO changes in the first half of the year doubled from the first half of 2019. Meanwhile, CMO turnover in the consumer industry – retail, consumer digital and media, consumer products and services and leisure and hospitality – tumbled 11 percentage points.

“Shelter-in-place and working from home has had a significant impact on consumer companies, which has negatively impacted consumer CMO opportunities,” Yustin says.

Both of those developments, however, had just the opposite effect on technology. Demand for high-speed internet soared, as did e-commerce, gaming and multiple other tech services. Where CMO tech industry changes hovered in the teens in 2018 and 2019, the first half of this year the sector accounted for 27% of all CMO hires.

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Unlike financial services where an industry-high 58% of CMOs were outsiders, tech companies stuck with their own; only 19% of tech CMOs came from a different industry. At least since 2018, that’s been usual for tech firms.

Until the pandemic, other industries have been more willing, even eager to hire outsiders. In H1 2019, 57% of the marketing leadership among industrial and natural resources companies came from other industries. This year, 25% are outsiders. Healthcare went from 60% outsiders to 33% this year.

Yustin suggests that the changing consumer and customer demands that go back well before the pandemic, but which COVID accelerated, should have made companies more open to marketers with different perspectives. Instead, because of the volatility and uncertainty, he says, “Many organizations are playing it safe as opposed to being provocative and bringing on tenured leaders with a more diverse range of industry experiences.”

What hasn’t changed is the commitment to gender diversity. Across the board, 53% of CMO hires in H1 2020 were women, up 5 points from H1 2019. Some industries skew in one direction or another. 75% of CMO hires by non-profits and education were women in the first half of this year. For the same period last year, 57% were women. The industrial and natural resources industries went the other way, hiring male CMOs 61% of the time versus 46% the year before.

The pandemic and the changes it’s brought about in where and how we work and how we shop and how we spend our leisure time “has pushed the idea of customer-centricity to the forefront,” Yutsin writes.

“In turn, leadership capabilities must be realigned to meet the needs of today’s in-charge customer.”

Photo by Fabio Rodrigues on Unsplash

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