When we were choosing our charity challenges to mark our silver jubilee as a Basingstoke recruitment company, mine was to have my head shaved. The mohican sort of distracted me for a while. That came about from a presentation to year 8 at Brighton Hill Community College.
As mentioned in earlier blogs, it attracted far more positive attention than I anticipated. The aim was always to have my hair completely shaved off, to see how people would react. As the mohican had been born out of a blaze of publicity (well, Basingstoke Gazette covered it), my Marketing Partner, Kaia of Brevity Marketing, suggested doing the shave quietly to judge people’s perceptions.
So, I’ve attended meetings & seminars cranially naked, without batting an eyelid. Those who have followed the ‘hawk have guessed it was the next stage. But those acquaintances who hadn’t encountered my multi-coloured mullet were quietly shocked. Once, the hair (or lack of it) had been explained many came up to me to say how pleased they were that I wasn’t ill. One chap even said he was conflicted – I looked well, but the hair suggested something more sinister. He even contemplated saying “you look well, considering…”.
It made me feel a bit of a fraud. This has never been about attracting sympathy or hood winking people. However, it does highlight how we label people because of their appearance. My Recruitment Manager at Wote Street People, Matt, has had a shaven head for years – no-one, to my knowledge has thought he was suffering from the effects of cancer treatment.
Taking those perceptions further, it shows how misleading first impressions can be. As professional recruiters in Basingstoke we constantly battle to get our clients passed that first impression. Age, gender, sexuality, ethnicity – even just general dishevelment can really limit candidates’ chances of getting further into the selection process. We therefore, urge Employers, especially in this candidate led market, to look passed the 1st impression, to explore where that candidate may have strengths that will match your organisation. After all – think about your brand – would you be completely happy with the 1st impression your company gives a new visitor?1
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