Imagine standing in a line of people dressed in their best suits getting ready strut down the runway in their most confident walk. Because going to a job interview is just that— the marching of the suits in pursuit of the job-pageant crown. And if you think it’s not about your looks, think again.
The job interview is one of the most confounding processes that a professional has to content with and just like in the Miss USA pageant you must primp, rehearse, and perform your most show stopping routine to get that coveted thing called a job. And even then, it’s not enough.
Sometimes you have to just look right, which isn’t to always say that you have to be stunningly good-looking but good-looks does help in most instances. It’s often about how you fit the mold of the “ideal candidate.” The problem is, you often don’t know what these “ideal candidate” requirements are.
Most often, the ideal candidate will be tall and male. If you are, you will get the job before the shorter person, male or female. The ideal candidate will be younger, rather than older. If you’re overweight, no matter how qualified you might be the slender candidate will get the job before you. If you’re a minority, most likely, you will get passed over for a Caucasian candidate because hiring managers prefer to work with people they are most familiar with and let’s face it, most people in supervisory positions are white. Employers would much rather sit in a conference room with a good-looking employee than an unattractive one so if you’re a plain Jane, it’s very likely that you will get passed over. And if you’re disabled, forget it. Everyone else will automatically appear more qualified than you.
Nowadays even an Ivy League degree isn’t enough. Because of the number of job seekers horrifically outnumber the number of open positions, it’s often the case that one needs to do an incredible feat, say, a backwards somersault in an Armani suit in order to even be considered. And even then, the hiring manager will still ask you do another somersault, albeit with a half twist— simply because they can. In some cases, you’ll need to perform an opera aria while dancing the tango to prove your worth.
Because in a hiring situation and especially in such saturated job market the one with power is the employer, and unfortunately this gives them freedom to behave rather badly. In the end, just remember that if you didn’t get the job, don’t take it personally. It’s not you. It’s them.