It’s safe to say that my working demeanor has somewhat relaxed since entering the rec to rec arena. This probably speaks to my client base. Previously, I was trying to bring some legitimacy to my unsolicited approach of property managers and architects. This meant looking like a Hallensteins mannequin and sounding like an old school version of Winston Peters. Now, I’m talking to my people, my kinfolk and authenticity wins out over presentation. We act like the shadiest deals in human history weren’t conducted by men in nicely pressed suits? Nixon, Hitler, Trump; for all his many many many flaws rocks that presidential look hard! Blue suit, white shirt, red tie, timeless! To be fair if he came out in some stubbies, singlet and donning a novelty hat allowing him to simultaneously drink two Bud Lights at once I think his electorate would swoon to a chorus of “he’s not like dem politicians!” This implied trust we tie to formality doesn’t just extend to our presentation but in our language.
Your email sign off says a lot about what you’re trying to convey. For many, this afterthought to an email has been tweaked as you’ve climbed the ladder and shattered ceilings through your career. Starting off with the humble ‘chur’ evolving to ‘best regards’ and ending with ‘yours sincerely’. When Winston Churchill declared war on Japan in 1941, he signed off with a perplexing “your obedient servant, Winston S Churchill” When asked about his choice of words he replied, “it cost nothing to be polite”. Surely we’ve all been served with a snide ‘regards’ after rubbing someone up the wrong way? It can be a bit of a minefield as the good people at Forbes found out, listing an exhausting list of over 50 potential sign-offs. My point is that the final few words of an email can inadvertently add a level of esteem or plunge you to the depths of informality. I surely can’t be the only one who deletes “sent from my iPhone” in an attempt to not look like I’m juggling my work with my desire to catch them all on Pokemon GO.
We live in a more mobile world and with that convenience comes a grey area when using a device for both our personal and professional lives. I think it’s safe to say that no one is replying back to a client’s positive candidate feedback with ‘GR8!’ but I am a big advocate for the use of emojis. My reaction to – “Scott, give me a call” and “Scott, give me a call 😊” are worlds apart. To recruit in a time of emoji’s is a godsend! That lil winky boi has softened some pretty cutting feedback, to be honest. It seems that they carry more weight than we think even being some peoples undoing. Prosecutors in California used as evidence a series of emoji’s to attempt to convict a man during a prostitution ring. The man had DM’d “Teamwork make the dream work” with the emojis – 👑👠💰 to which he claimed was in an attempt to strike up a romantic not professional relationship. In 2017, a couple in Israel was charged thousands of dollars after a court ruled that their use of emoji to a landlord signaled an intent to rent his apartment. Once securing another property they tried to back out, the court ruled in favor of the landlord.
Social media platforms that aren’t formal in nature may present some challenges when colliding with your agencies brand. Instagram for example, not a conventional medium to promote your agency but it certainly is being used more and more. A ‘behind the scenes’ look at your agency to see how the sausage is made. Sharing moments of cultural appreciation/appropriation to celebrating the success of colleagues it adds a human element to the brand. Humans, however, are a little rough around the edges and unless you want a sterile and boring profile that’s the risk you take. If anyone wants to know my barometer of formality feel free to read some of Sean’s comments under some of our pictures, chuck us a follow while you’re there!
A collared shirt doesn’t make you more trustworthy and a tie doesn’t come with its own unique sourcing strategy. How you look shouldn’t affect how you recruit. I do appreciate that ‘dress’ is a cornerstone to any culture and the psychology between looking professional and acting professionally. An invisible line in the wardrobe of ‘work clothes and ‘nonwork clothes’ in its self adds a distinction between the ‘work you’ and the ‘out of work you’. My argument is, should there be a difference? I’ve almost spent the same amount of time in a boutique as in a corporate and the way I recruit has remained unchanged even if my appearance has altered. During these times of reflection, I’m reminded of the old proverb “a monkey in silk is a monkey nonetheless” but I think I prefer my mum’s more Liverpudlian version “they’re all fur coat and no knickers” 🦊🧥🚫👙