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Crazy ‘Bout a Sharp Dressed Man

Posted: 19/06/2012 5:00:00 AM by Sarah Mitchell, Director Site Content, AMMA Mining Oil and Gas Jobs
Filed under: Mining, Oil-and-gas, Job-seekers


Note: A modified version of this article originally appeared in Issue 02 of Rock Candy Magazine.

You have to consider ZZ Top has a point in their song Sharp Dressed Man. They bang on about clean shirts and new shoes as a means to getting the girl. But good grooming is instrumental in pulling the job you want. The opposite is also true. Show up at the interview looking worse for wear and you probably won’t get very far.

It’s important to understand what makes a hiring manager tick. Good skills and site experience do not guarantee a job. While hiring managers are tasked with filling roles, they’re custodians of the company reputation and responsible for ensuring each employee fits into the culture of the organisation.

Kyla Jones, Site Director at AMMA miningoilandgasjobs.com, speaks with HR managers every day. She knows mining companies are risk averse, especially as it relates to their hiring decisions.

“Hiring managers are not initially focused on whether someone can do a particular job. Their goal is to eliminate as many candidates from consideration as possible. A lot of jobseekers get this part wrong.”

“Every single mining company in Australia has a strong focus on health and safety. Hiring managers have been tasked with supplying a workforce that will accept and support safety standards. This is true right through the organisation and applies to jobs on site and in corporate headquarters,”
Ms. Jones continues.

“If you’re fortunate enough to make it to the interview phase, corporate recruiters are still assessing whether you’re going to be a good fit. Anything that makes them nervous, especially about a candidate’s judgement, is going to affect their decision-making process.”

First impressions count

From the moment you make eye contact with your interviewer, to the moment you leave the room, you are on show. Your personal grooming reveals more than you might think. Many interviews are held in corporate offices. Show up like you’re headed for the beach and you’ll be tagged as someone with poor judgement.

Although it may seem obvious to be neat and tidy for the interview, be sure to pay extra attention to your personal grooming. Small details count towards your overall impression.
  • Leave the thongs at home. Your shoes should be cleaned and polished and your heels should be in good repair. This applies to both men and women.
  • Get a haircut before the interview and make sure it’s clean and neatly groomed. If you have long hair, tie it back.
  • Make sure you shave before the interview. Beards should be trimmed and tidy.
  • Your hands should be clean. Nails should be cut short or nicely manicured. Ladies should forgo nail art.
  • Make sure your breath and body odour is fresh and pleasant. Wear clean clothing and use deodorant but don’t wear strong perfume or aftershave. Avoid smoking cigarettes before the interview. Also resist eating garlicky or spicy food 24 hours before your interview.
In addition, if you’re carrying a handbag, document folder or laptop, make sure it’s in good repair. Even the fairest interviewers subconsciously form opinions based on the way you look. This is especially true if your appearance is either unclean or unprofessional. Don’t allow a grubby backpack to detract from your otherwise perfectly groomed visual image.

Dress Code

The only sure way to know the appropriate dress code for your interview is to ask in advance. If you’re interviewing on a mine site, it might be perfectly suitable to show up wearing your safety gear. Even then, work boots need to be free of any mud or dust. Your shirt and pants should be freshly laundered and free of wrinkles.

If your meeting is at a corporate office, dress in conservative clothing. For men, this means long pants and a shirt with a collar. For women, a skirt or pants should be worn with a collared shirt. Women should never wear anything even remotely suggestive or sexual so make sure no cleavage is showing and your legs are covered to the knee.

Accessories, including jewellery, should be kept to a minimum. Makeup should be applied lightly or not at all. If you have extravagant tattoos, piercings or body art, it’s best to cover them or reduce their visual impact.

Know your audience

Showing up to an interview with poor grooming and dress shows a lack of respect to the people you’re trying to impress. Kyla Jones provides further insight into the people making decisions about employment in the mines.

“Hiring managers are part of the human resources team. They are highly professional men and women working in corporate environments. The headquarters of mining companies are located in major metropolitan cities like Perth, Brisbane, Melbourne and Adelaide.”

“These people often feel a real sense of responsibility for the workplace culture. They frequently travel to the sites. Their hiring decisions are made with the rest of the current workforce in mind.”


Said another way, the person you have to impress is someone with a lot responsibility to the company. They have a sense of duty to the people already working at a site and want to ensure the next person they hire is going to fit in. If these people feel you don’t respect the organisational culture, you won’t get the job.

Winning your next job requires more than having the best qualifications. In fact, by the time you’re interviewed, your qualifications have already received the stamp of approval and it’s time for you to shine. That’s why it’s so important to project a positive image. Fortunately, personal presentation is easy to get right. Seize the opportunity to make a lasting first impression that gets you hired.

For more advice about interviewing, visit our section on The Job Interview in the Careers and Industry Guide.

We’re here to help:

  • Subscribe to our blog. We’re publishing new information every day about employment in the Australian resource industry.
  • If you’re looking for a job in mining, energy or oil and gas, make sure you visit our industry jobs board where we only advertise real jobs by real employers.


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