Creating a great, nay, fantastic first impression when you go to a job interview is crucial. You rarely get a second chance, so making sure you knock ‘em dead off the bat is a must.
First impressions are made based on a variety of factors but the one that will hit your potential employer first, other than perfect punctuality of course, is your appearance. Before you’ve even opened your mouth or reached out a hand in greeting, your interviewer has sized you up based on how you look and your physical demeanour.
Here are some basic tips on making sure that your physical appearance does not let you down when it comes to making that all-important first impression.
- Chewing gum is a no-no – It might seem obvious but candidates still do this! Sometimes it’s because they’ve simply forgotten to take the gum out before the interview starts, or because they think they can conceal it from the interviewer, or because they genuinely think it’s OK to chew gum. It’s not a good look and your interviewer will certainly share that opinion.
- It’s not only about the interviewer – Everyone you encounter when you arrive at the place you’re interviewing at is someone to impress. Remember, if you get the job, anyone you met when you interviewed will remember you and form their impression of you from that time. Yes, the interviewer is who you came to see but don’t neglect to introduce yourself to anyone else you may meet in the process. You never know, a friendly chat with the receptionist might help sway the decision to take you on.
- When it comes to your clothes, a little colour coordination can make a brilliant impression. Sure, we’re not all stylists at heart but keeping your outfit to a 2 or 3 coordinated colours makes you look like the well-organised individual that you are. Here’s a great link about choosing colours for a job interview.
- Tattoos and piercings are a no-no – The business world isn’t quite open-minded enough yet so cover up the tatts where possible and take out any unusual piercings you might have. You can discuss the company’s policy on body art later on should you get the job, but not at the interview.
- Turn the cell phone off or put it on silent with no vibrate function – Nothing kills an interview like your phone making any kind of noise. Apart from being distracting to you and the interviewer, it’s downright rude and will ensure a lasting bad impression is made.
- Do not look at your watch. Even once. It’s rude and simply unnecessary. What are you going to do? Tell your interviewer that time is getting on and you have somewhere you need to be?
- Clean hair and a good manicure – Again, it might seem like a no-brainer but it’s another thing that gets overlooked way more than it should. Plan time before your interview for a little pampering to make sure these details are taken care of (and that goes for men and women). When it comes to nail colour (just the women this time) it’s a good idea to go for a neutral colour. You don’t want an interviewer to be distracted by your bright coral nails every time you move your hands. The same goes for makeup.
- Do not smell like cigarettes – For those who have this vice, make a concerted effort to conceal the smell of smoke. Now, we know that refraining from smoking on your interview day is highly unlikely to happen, in fact, you may feel inclined to smoke more. However, simple things like only smoking outside and not in an enclosed area such as a smoking section or your car can help. Also, removing your jacket to keep it smoke-free while you have a cigarette can also make a difference. Certainly, do not attempt to mask the smell of smoke with perfume or aftershave. You don’t want to smell like smoke but you also don’t want to make your interviewers eyes water care of Calvin Klein’s latest scent.
There may be more to creating a great first impression than you thought, but the reality is that it’s all pretty straight-forward stuff. Put yourself in the position of your interviewer and then look at yourself through their eyes. Would you be impressed?