If the Shoe Fits: Shoe Tips for Interviewing

If the shoe fitsCarrie Bradshaw, the chief protagonist of the “Sex in The City” TV/film series, never met a Manolo Blahnik, Christian Louboutin, or Jimmy Choo she didn’t like.  I never quite understood how she managed to purchase so many beautiful $500-$1600 shoes on a writer’s salary….nor did I ever quite understand how she ran in  6” heels while hailing a cab or catching a bus in NYC.  But that’s another story!  What can be said about her chosen footwear is that it reflected her personality:  extroverted, sexy, quirky and with a point of view.

Researchers at the University of Kansas think that Carrie was on to something….shoes are a mirror of your personality.  In their recently released study, strangers accurately predicted 90% of participants’ personality traits, including age, gender, income, political affiliation and emotional stability, just by looking at photos of their footwear.  While stunning in their accuracy, the results follow prevailing wisdom.  People with more disposable income wear more expensive shoes, and flashy shoes are worn by extroverts  á la Carrie.  Some results were less predictable.  Functional/practical shoes correlated to more agreeable personalities, and more inexpensive shoes to more liberal leaning wearers.  “Uncomfortable” looking shoes equated to calmness, while ankle boots were a sure sign of aggressiveness.  People with boring shoes had difficulty forming attachments, while those who wore new or well-kept shoes worked hard on relationships.

Studies of this nature could be used to further skew a hiring process already heavily founded on first impressions.  For instance, based on these findings all healthcare workers should only wear functional, practical and uncomfortable looking shoes to their interviews to be perceived as calm and agreeable…. even if they aren’t.  But no one, fashionista or not, would think of pairing Crocs or Uggs with a business suit or other interview attire.  What the study really reinforces is that what we convey nonverbally even by our shoe style and condition may be more important than anything we say verbally about our skills and experience.

If you are a therapist looking  for your first job or a veteran looking for a change of pace, let us guide you in making the best first impression you can from head to toe. Call the Centra Team at 800 575 0076.

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