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| June 1, 2020

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Rebecca Parker

When going for a job interview everyone wants to make a good first impression. But what if you’ve been unemployed for a long time or you’re struggling to get by on benefits? The expense of buying a smart interview outfit and looking your best for the day can be beyond many people’s reach, leaving them feeling defeated before they’ve even filled in a job application form.

Niall Johnstone, 25, from Aston, has been in and out of prison for over 10 years and is ready to turn his life around and get a job. He couldn’t afford an interview outfit and turned up to a his first ever job interview wearing his tracksuit and trainers thinking he could explain, however, he was turned away at the front door for not wearing the right clothes. 

Niall was referred through a Birmingham job centre. Feeling angry and disheartened he said: “Over the years I’ve been done for burglary, shoplifting, car theft, all petty non-violent crime and I just got sick of wasting my life away in a prison cell. I just want to turn my life around and get a job. After I got turned away at the interview I was frustrated and I just I kicked off at the job centre, I was angry because I needed interview clothes and nobody was helping me.”

Niall Johnstone before_web Niall Johnstone_web

Before and after images of Niall

UK award winning hairdressing group, Francesco Group, has teamed up with Suited for Success, who collect donated suits and smart clothes from professional men and women across the city and redistributes them free of charge to unemployed men and women in Birmingham who have a guaranteed job interview. To go alongside this service, Francesco Group’s Birmingham Academy will be offering free hair cuts and styling to enable people to look and feel confident prior to going to their interview.

Patricia White, Suited for Success’ manager commented, “We’re so excited to be working with Francesco Group Birmingham Academy. Not being properly groomed can make or break someone’s chances at getting that crucial job offer.  A haircut is not only about confidence or a feel-good factor, if someone is looking their best and feeling their best they are more likely to give their best. We’re more than just about providing a suit.”