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Turns Out It’s Shoes That Make the Man

by Aug 9, 2013, 5:48 am ET

SAMSUNGNews flash: Men, it isn’t just your feet that bad shoes are killing. Who knew that choosing your shoes unwisely could kill your chance at getting a great job?

Before I get into the sole of this post, please know this is serious stuff to Allen Edmonds, maker of men’s business and casual shoes. How many other shoe companies do you know would commission a survey of 1,037 working men and women on the subject of professionalism in footwear?

The company must have broken down the respondents into hiring managers, and young male execs, since one of the key findings was that 80 percent of the managers consider the shoes worn to an interview to be “extremely important.”

Alas, only 51 percent find the shoes worn by the young men they interview to be appropriate. Shoes, 75 percent of these managers report, speak to a man’s attention to detail, and to his confidence and cultural fit.

Even sadder — (Stop laughing. I am doing my best here to remain strait-laced, even if it seems tongue-in-cheek. Oh, no, did I really get two of them in that one phrase?) — as I was saying, even sadder, says Allen Edmunds in the press release, is that “young professional men seem to be fooling themselves when it comes to appropriate office shoes.” Three-quarters of them claim to always wear business appropriate shoes.

Oh how do they so fool themselves! The survey says that while young professionals are so sure they’ve got the right footwear, and even believe shows make the man more than the suits they wear, only 44 percent of the male bosses and 54 percent of the women think their young male subordinates wear appropriate shoes in business formal settings.

I just love my job. The picture is of the business appropriate footwear in which I am currently shod.

Send Me Your Chocolate Comments

CB candidate techniques surveyNow that you know not to wear tennies for that interview at Scrooge & Marley, CareerBuilder has a few other things not to do.

Don’t send the hiring manager a shoe to “get your foot in the door.” Seems the last person who tried that didn’t get the job. But showing up in a suit with a red T-shirt underneath a white shirt does work, if the T-shirt says “Hire me, I work hard.”

Another candidate who got the job, according to this latest CareerBuilder survey, put their resume on a chocolate bar. On the other hand, sending the interviewer beef stew with a note saying, “Eat hearty and hire me.,” doesn’t work.

CareerBuilder asked 2,076 hiring managers and human resource professionals nationwide to share the most memorable methods candidates have used to stand out from the crowd, and whether their creativity got them hired. The results are entertaining. Check the what-worked-and-what-didn’t chart.

You Call a No Shoes Question Interview Tough?

Before you rush off to get a red t-shirt and matching shoes, you might also want to brush up on your skills and actually know something about the company where you’ll be sending that chocolate resume bar.

If either McKinsey or Gartner happen to be on your prospect list, wear your best wing tips, men, and expect the interview to be, ahem, thorough. Both consulting firms share top (honors?) with the likes of ThoughtWorks, BCG, and Bain for the five toughest places to interview, according to Glassdoor memmbers. The top five scored a 3.8 on the toughness scale. The average of all Glassdoor companies is 2.8.

Glassdoor’s compilation of the 25 companies with the toughest interviews came out this morning. The interviews got ranked, but so did interviewee satisfaction and Glassdoor threw in the company’s overall employee satisfaction for comparison. Tough as they are, the folks who rated them considered the exp2013-08-01 GDR-Top25_Diff_Interviews_Finalerience positive for the most part. (Two exceptions, but without knowing what shoes the job seekers were wearing, I won’t judge.)

Thoughtfully, Glassdoor provided a substantial sampling of the comments reviewers made as they rated the company. Not a single mention of sartorial standards, although a candidate for a job with Avaya reported being asked, “What kind of car do you drive and why?”

Henceforth, amongst the behavioral interview questions, on behalf of Allen Edmunds, I urge all recruiters and hiring managers to take note of the candidate’s shoes and ask, “Why did you choose those?” That, need I point out, only applies to young males.

Now, if you happen to be a young man hoping to be upwardly mobile, go get your shoes shined.

This article is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended to offer specific legal advice. You should consult your legal counsel regarding any threatened or pending litigation.