I liken the formation of a business relationship to the formation of a personal relationship that begins in the home. Most people tidy their living rooms hoping guests will be impressed with their home. There is rarely a need for guests to see the hurricane damaged rooms of the children, or the master bedroom destroyed by too little time and energy to properly clean it. This is similar to the outward professional appearance job candidates should want to present to a potential employer. No one has a perfect life, and everyone has a skeleton or two in the closet. Those skeletons may be walking right beside a candidate that cannot make a proper presentation. Thus, a proper appearance may mask the skeletons just as a neat living room can hide the messes behind closed doors in a home.
Cleaning the toilet and sink is another way people prepare for guests. You never know when someone might need to be excused. If the bathroom is unsanitary or just appears to be so, that guest's opinion will be negatively shaped. This includes seeing unwashed clothing scattered around the bathroom floor. What individual wants to become intimately connected to such an area, even if only briefly? My comparison here is to the actual interview stage. This is not the time to share dirty jokes and personal problems. Rarely will an employer wade into the dirty laundry of a potential employee upon the first meeting, feel comfortable and make an investment in that individual.
Some home owners add small finishing touches to cleaning up their home such as flowers on the table, air freshener or a candle, or a clean slip cover on the couch. In an interview, you have to sell yourself and then you have to close the deal. Sometimes the small touches to resumes, or interview presentation will win you the job. That something special, something extra can sometimes ease employer doubts and fears and make you stand out from other applicants.
Most people don't want to fail or stand out in the crowd for negative reasons. Individuals are unique, social beings. We are also very judgmental, no matter how much we deny it. We may rage against society or injustices and societal norms, but interaction with one another is necessary and inevitable. These are some of the reasons we are forced or chose to build relationships. Through necessity we rely on one another.
That first impression may well be all that any of us have. This cliched phrase is proven true not just because of the business needs of a potential employer, but as a result of the very nature of humans. Be the relationship personal or business, or if the relationship begins face-to-face, via telephone or written communication, judgement has begun. So, remember, "Put your best foot forward."