There’s an old saying that goes, “You only get one chance to make a good first impression.” This may seem a little off point in terms of the general subject matter usually contained in this blog; but, since our business is pre-employment screening, I don’t think it’s too much of a stretch to write about other aspects of the hiring process occasionally.

For example, a couple of our folks attended a nearby job fair at which we had a booth.  Keeping in mind that the likelihood of snagging a job interview at a job fair is certainly not out of the question, you would think that job seekers would want to make an initial first impression.  But according to our folks who were manning our booth, it’s almost impossible to believe how people looked who were, ostensibly, in the market for a job!

A few had on suits and were prepared with well-done resumes; most weren’t.  Based on that, here are a few things not to do – even at a job fair.  Don’t wear raggedy, torn jeans.  Don’t wear T-shirts with some disgusting imprint.  Don’t wear flip-flops.  Don’t wear tights with a mini-skirt.  Don’t show up with a three-day growth of a scraggly beard, and don’t bring along an infant in a stroller!

Here are a few things you should do.  For males, wear a freshly pressed suit and tie.  Shine your shoes; make sure you have a fresh haircut and fresh shave.  Have a supply of attractive resumes and business cards in some sort of brief case or folder.  For women, wear a business suit with some sort of heels that match.  Have a fresh hairdo and fresh makeup.  Make sure your nails have been freshly done.  Have a supply of attractive resumes and business cards in some sort of nice folder.

One final note on appearance, think twice before getting a tattoo that will show, like on your hands, neck, or face.  Also think twice about piercings – except for earrings.  And if you’ve already got a piercing somewhere on your face or even through your tongue, for heaven’s sake, take them out before going to a job fair!

Obviously, the idea is to make a good first impression on people who might be in a position to set up an actual job interview for you.  The first thing employers will notice is personal appearance at a job fair.  Showing up in sweat pants and a tank-top sends a very specific message to prospective employers – that you’re really not all that interested in finding a job   Make sure the impression you leave – even at a job fair – is a good one.  You get only one chance to leave a good first impression!