Recently I was having dinner with a high-powered CEO of a major company. She was sharing one of her “off the books” evaluation techniques for potential candidates. She said, “Whenever I interview, I look at fingernails and the heels of their shoes. Male or female, are they nicely trimmed and neat? Shoes may be polished and clean but what about the heels? Are they worn out on the sides?” To this CEO, worn heels or unkempt fingernails are signs of a person’s “attention to detail.”
This not only provides a “first impression,” it seems to be an indication of the person’s attentiveness to detail and level of professionalism. If you don’t take care of your appearance, you could be sending a signal that you won’t take care of the details of your clients.
The first thing I did following this meal was check my heels, and my nails. I’ve always tried to maintain a very professional appearance. Sometimes that means a suit and tie, sometimes it means business casual; it depends on the client and the situation. Regardless of the “formal or informal” nature of the meeting, personal grooming is always important.
Despite the old cliché that you can’t judge a book by its cover, you’re being judged every time you meet with a prospect or client. Pay attention to details. Even the greatest ideas, the best strategies, and the most logical of plans can be derailed by a lack of attention to personal grooming details. Look in the mirror every morning. Would you do business with you? How are your nails and the heels of your shoes today?