Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Scent of an Interview

Having been working in HR and recruiting for several years there are a few dirty little secrets I have about what influences me to hire a person or not. The way someone smells is one of them. I know reading this there are a few people thinking okay wear extra perfume or cologne, not so fast.

Yes body odor is one of those things that can influence me not to hire you, but even more often what has offended my nose is too much perfume or cologne. Let me set up the scene for you. I have reviewed over one hundred resumes, picked the fifteen to twenty best qualified people, done a quick phone interview and then set the best ten of those up for in person interviews.

So in walks Mr. or Ms. Candidate, they introduce themselves, shake my hand and we proceed to my office. Usually I have already noticed at the shaking hands point that they were a little to liberal with their personal aromatic choice, but I know I must finish the interview. So into my small office where the scent they are wearing takes over.

I start asking my interview questions like “ Think of the last place you worked and tell me what reason the colleague who liked you least would give as to why they were not fond of you?” At this point I think I already know the answer, too much fragrance. No matter what the answer, I don’t really hear it because I am just feeling a bit queasy. The interview concludes and I usher my interviewee out letting them know that a decision will be made by the end of the week.

Since I almost always have several qualified potential employees to look at, in the end the one who was a bit overly scented is not who I choose. My advice is to forgo any fragrance when interviewing. You never know if that is the same scent was worn by a hated ex or will trigger some other unpleasant response from your interviewer. If you must wear some, go very lightly and don’t touch you perfume or cologne up before you go into the interview.

Yes good old bad body odor can cost you a job too, but for most of us a shower before getting ready for an interview will take care of that.

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