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Charlie Mullins: Does the suit make the man?

4 Mins

In fact, Mr Twain would have choked on his corn flakes, or whatever was the breakfast of choice in 19th century Missouri, if he’d seen the state of one candidate who arrived at our depot last week in the hope of landing a job with us.

I know we’ve been experiencing this year’s first wave of hot weather, but that is no excuse to arrive at an interview dressed as if you’re going to the beach! 

This guy turned up in shorts and t-shirt for a formal interview and was turned away before he even had the chance to sign in at reception due to not presenting himself appropriately for our company.

First impressions are everything, especially when applying for a job. But, in truth, in business, they are everything 24/7! Here at Pimlico, we pride ourselves on presentation with all our engineers being very smart and clean at all times.

From their immaculate uniforms to our gleaming fleet of vans, how our people present themselves to customers and the general public is a vital part of our business proposition, helps build our brand and demonstrates our commitment to quality.

Of course, having staff wear branded uniforms isn’t the only way to ensure they are well presented and make a good impression. Before the recession a great deal of workplaces were influenced by the casual approach to business attire of West Coast of America internet companies, which led to offices becoming awash with men in chinos and polo shirts.

However, just when some thought the only place we’d see the great British tie was in a fashion exhibit at the Victoria & Albert Museum, the economy crashed and there was a shift the business suit made a comeback.

Why? Simply, because business people realised they had to work harder to win new work in a retracted economy and making the right first impression had to be the first weapon pulled out of their arsenal if they were in with a chance of landing a sale.

The same is true in the competitive jobs market. While there are more people in employment than ever before, there are still plenty of people out of work, particularly the under 25s, and jobseekers need to make sure they don’t put themselves at a disadvantage against other candidates. That includes, of course, dressing correctly for interviews.

But before anyone tries to tar me with the brush of being a generalist, I know that all young people aren’t scruffy and many understand how to dress for the workplace.

In fact, I’d like to end on quite a heart-warming story. We’ve been working with an organisation called Kids Company, which helps young people from vulnerable and disadvantaged backgrounds, to provide work experience places.

We currently have one of their lads, Adan with us for two weeks’ work experience. He’s keen as mustard and the complete opposite to the beach-bum who turned up for interview.

We’ve kitted him out with a Pimlico uniform while he helps out one of our plumbers, but that hasn’t stopped him turning up each morning in a shirt and tie.

Undoubtedly, plenty of young people looking for a job as well as overly-casual workplaces could learn a lesson or two from Adan – his first impression definitely made an impression on me!

Charlie Mullins is the CEO and founder of Pimlico Plumbers

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