Suit2Go Director answers some key questions
Where the name Suit2Go came from and what’s the story behind this service?
The name Suit2Go has a double meaning. It stands for SUIT, the business attire that we provide our clients with, but also for being SUITABLE for either a job interview or for any kind of progression opportunity, where the first impression is crucial.
The whole idea of starting a dressing service for unemployed men came to us few years ago, when together with Reading Borough Council we were discussing the lack of provision for Berkshire residents. As fashion and image specialists, we understand that offering free clothes to our clients is just a part of the service. Another vital part is advice on how to wear business attire and how to match colours for different business situations.
Naturally, we appreciate that not everyone enjoys wearing a suit, and might not feel totally comfortable, however getting the appearance right definitely helps to boost confidence and improve posture. It gives you a visual advantage, even when applying for a job where smart dress code is not required on a daily basis.
What is the aim of this service?
Dressing smartly for your job interview shows that you treat this meeting seriously, respect your potential employer and appreciate the opportunity. A successful outcome of this interview could change your life and the lives of your loved ones. Working closely with employers, we still hear stories about candidates attending interviews wearing tracksuits and even headphones! What might be acceptable when going out with your mates will never cut it at a job interview, especially as this is perhaps a life-changing moment.
Do you think that first impression matters?
Of course! It’s not rocket science that you only have seconds to impress your interviewers.
I’ll tell you a story. Few months ago we met a gentleman, who openly questioned the reasons why we believe it’s essential to be smartly dressed for a job interview. He said that the first impression is not vital; it is your personality and skills that matters. It’s important to mention here that this gentleman was wearing a suit himself, he had a tie and well-polished shoes on, as he was giving a public speech. Surely that was to make the right impression? To show respect towards his listeners? I think you’ll agree that deep down he actually believed in the importance of first impressions too and demonstrated it by his clothing.
You’re about to see a group of people who might decide on your professional future, on whether you are right to represent their company, their values. They’ve seen your CV already, that’s why they invited you to their offices, now they want to meet you in person to make the final decision about whether you are right for their company or not. If you are arrive wearing casual clothes and paying no attention to your appearance, what does it say about the importance of the situation and becoming a representative of their company? As I said before, not everyone feels comfortable wearing a suit, and that’s fine. But make an extra effort, press your chino trousers and shirt, polish your shoes. It makes you look more respectable and shows that you treat this opportunity seriously. Remember that your future relies on that meeting. People do judge, whether you like it or not.
What is on offer through Suit2Go?
Suit2Go is a dressing and employability service for unemployed men from the Berkshire area, with the plan of expanding into the surrounding counties in the future. Our team of specialists offers: career profiling, personality tests, potential opportunity matching, interview preparation and in some cases, a review of the CV, although it’s best if this part is completed with the help of a referring agency before our appointment.
Through this service, we provide our male clients with suitable, free to take home, business attire, as well as with styling advice and grooming products, depending on our current stock. Suit2Go does not offer any specialist work clothes or protective clothing as that would be supplied by the employer once the job is secured. At Suit2Go we believe that appropriate assessment is vital to establish whether the candidate is either job ready, or right for the opportunity he is applying for. We are very much against ‘ticking the boxes and claiming numbers’ practice. We are very proud of our success rate; therefore it is our aim to ensure that the candidate who is leaving our office has a full understanding of his strengths and the requirements of this specific job opportunity. Everyone is equipped with different skill set and each individual’s characteristics determine whether this person will be successful in a specific industry or a role. Long term job satisfaction and a strong commitment to a company’s values are the key to a successful career. We want to spare government resources that are being wasted on sending people to unsuitable job possibilities, just so they are employed and no longer receiving benefits. Once people realise the job doesn’t suit them and they are not prepared to keep doing it, they will be back home disappointed with the system and quite often questioning their own abilities, not eligible for further financial support and no longer under the radar of the agencies.
Why is the initial assessment so important?
Based on the Myers and Briggs method, there are 16 different personality types. Although we experience all the personality traits, some are more dominant and those will determine how we interact with the world around us. Understanding why we behave in a certain way is the key to being more successful in every aspect of your life, including recognising suitability for a specific job opportunity. Therefore we won’t achieve the goal of reducing unemployment by sending people into any available job, but by matching them with the right position, appropriate to their qualifications, skills, interests, and most importantly – characteristics. From the employee’s point of view, by accepting a job offer, they want to ensure that by committing to spend a significant part of their week working, they will be doing so according to their values and priorities. And again, nothing new - productivity is a key priority to every employer, and they can only achieve that when their staff are correctly motivated.
How to refer clients for Suit2Go service?
Please talk to us before referring candidates as there are various eligibility conditions we have to check first. We understand the urgency, but our team needs time to prepare the right outfits and interview training based on the job opportunity your client is applying for, therefore we won’t be able to accept referrals if the interview is on the same day.
I’ve seen your amazing space full of high quality men’s business attire. How did you get all of that?
So far we have been blessed with great donations of high quality business clothes. Almost 300 outfits have been donated by King&Allen, the pioneers of modern bespoke tailoring. Other contributions have come from the Baird Group, Jacobson Group, and Next. A few of our corporate partners such as Deloitte, Segro or Hilton Hotel have organised suit drives amongst their staff and provided us with an outstanding number of suits, trousers and shirts. If there are any items that require cleaning or alterations, we rely on the support of Johnsons Dry Cleaners who look after our stock and offer the highest quality service. The Oracle Shopping Centre have given us thousands of hangers as well as job opportunities for some of our clients, and Wickes have helped us to refurbish the space. We cannot forget about all the individuals who brought their pre-loved suits to our office. Although we are extremely grateful for all these remarkable donations, Suit2Go by Mapis CIC will still really benefit from any further help. It is thanks to all those who have contributed and keep on supporting us, that we are able to support men at this critical moment in their lives.