When looking for a job, we often think about how well we will fit into the culture or the work environment. During the interview, the employer is trying to identify if you are a suitable fit for the culture they already established. Unfortunately, if you don’t fit, you may not be hired. Let me give you a different perspective. Many employers are looking to become more diverse in their hiring practices, so with that idea, being different isn’t always a bad idea.
Let me put a little more context to this message. It does not matter what the case may be: whether you are a person with a disability, uniquely introverted, or have multiple piercings and tattoos, it does not mean that you aren’t qualified to do the job or have the skills and expertise the employer is looking to hire. Bottom line is that you should always focus on your qualifications and abilities to do the job rather than how unique or different you are; after all, we are all unique in one way or another. Of course, a clear majority of recruiters recommend that you remove piercings and cover tattoos for an interview – just don’t let that be the reason you don’t apply for a job.
The idea of the cookie-cutter employee is not as prevalent as it once was. Employers still have dress codes that we must follow. The style of dress has changed over the years, so has the interpretation of formal and informal. Don’t be afraid to express yourself a little when you are seeking that job opportunity. During an interview, just be yourself and express yourself as you see fit. Employers are starting to value diversity along with creative ideas and skills. Trying to fit into the social norms of workplace culture is no longer the same because workplace culture has evolved alongside social norms.
Cornelius Booker is a senior member of the Regional Navigator team and a graduate of Oklahoma State University where he received his Bachelors in Marketing and later received his M.B.A with a focus on Business Marketing and Management. With his personal experience and passion for the disabled community, Cornelius’ insights are an invaluable asset to the Workforce Solutions organization.