By: Lamia Nabil
A recent poll revealed that 78.6% of respondents believed there was a direct correlation between being well-groomed and professional progression.
Of these, 49.4% thought that physical appearance is a key factor which influences career advancement “to a large extent”, with 83.4% believing that there was a general link “between appearance and success”.
Of those polled 76.4% believed that a candidate’s physical appearance and dress at an interview affected the prospective employer’s decision regarding whether to hire them or not. Some 27.5% of those polled thought that good personal grooming and dress style showed the prospective employer that the candidate was interested in the position, while 24.8% believed it was “demonstrative of good character”.
The poll was conducted by Bayt.com, a middle-east job website.
“Quite clearly, personal appearance is of importance to many employers and employees in the region,” said Suhail Masri, vice president of sales at Bayt.com.
“It would seem to have a major influence on decisions to hire candidates or not, while good grooming may continue to have an impact from within the workplace, affecting the possibilities of promotion.”
Despite this, however, only 47.3% of respondents said that their company had a dress code, with 46.4% of these claiming they had not been informed of any dress code upon joining, having, instead, to find this out later by themselves.
“If your office has an agreed-upon dress code,” said Masri. “Then you should have no problems. But if it doesn’t, it’s up to you to get it right. Always remember that understated elegance really makes a difference. When starting a new job, always keep in mind that how you dress will tell your boss and others in the organisation how you see yourself and how you approach the job.”
A majority of those polled, 60.2%, thought that the most important factor regarding dress at the workplace was “to look happy, well groomed, energetic and confident at the office,” according to the poll’s findings, which also revealed they thought that “looking fit and healthy was also a boon”.
A large portion of respondents, 63.5%, also revealed they felt judged at the workplace based on their personal grooming and appearance, with only 22.7% saying they didn’t feel judged by colleagues on the basis of these factors.
“Despite the high correlation between personal grooming and professional success, this does not mean spending an exorbitant amount in keeping appearances,” continued Masri. “In fact, 48.5% of professionals say they spend only a moderate amount of their income on grooming and clothes. For landing a job and getting a promotion, a professional should always try to ‘look the part’.”
Roughly three-quarters of the poll’s respondents, 75.8%, said they do in fact enjoy looking after their appearance and dressing up for work, with western formal wear being preferable for 62.4%. Three in ten respondents, 29.1%, revealed they wear informal clothes or dress casually, with just 8.5% opting for ethnic or national dress.
Showing off tattoos or piercings was considered taboo by 51.9%.
“In a conservative business climate, appearances do matter. In other environments it isn’t as important. However, it does make sense to dress your best for the interview, regardless of the dress code at the organization. Making the right impression at work isn’t hard if you keep in mind three basic rules: First, presentation does count. Second, a casual office environment doesn’t mean that you have to dress carelessly. Finally, dress as you want to be seen: a person who takes their job seriously, is professional, and upward-bound,” concluded Masri.
A total of 10,525 respondents from more than 12 countries in the MENA region were polled for the the Bayt.com ‘Influence of Personal Appearance on Hiring Decisions’ poll, which was conducted online from 14 February to 15 March.