Job hunting has become more aggressive than ever. In the area of interviews, the rule is that everything counts. Everything you say or do or don’t do either adds to or takes away from your credibility and it starts with your appearance.
When you first meet a person, they make a judgment about you in approximately four seconds, and their judgment is finalised largely within 30 seconds of the initial contact. In a recent survey, people who are responsible for hiring generally agreed that they made their decision to hire or not to hire a person within 30 seconds of the first meeting.
Everything contributing to the way you look on the outside is important. If it is not helping you, it is hurting you. Your clothes are responsible for 95 percent of the first impression that you make on someone, grooming, your hair style, your make up can also exert an inordinate influence on the way that you are perceived. Your accessories, such as bag, watch, tie, rings, pens and other elements, all make a statement that will or will not help to put you in a position to influence someone.
Here are a few tricks to help you make a killer first impression and stand apart from the crowd.
- Get a haircut- Even if you just had a trim two weeks ago, visit your barber and ask them to clean up your neck area — this will give the impression that you take care of yourself well.
- Polish off your facial hair- If you’re looking to work from 9 to 5, you need to get rid of your 5 o’clock shadow. A clean face always makes the best first impression, so make sure you’re clean shaven before you head out for your next interview. Some guys look great with George Clooney stubble, but it can be considered a sign of laziness to a potential employer. If you have facial hair and insist on keeping it for the interview, make sure it doesn’t look unkempt.
- Dress appropriately- Wear a suit with conventional colours like navy and charcoal grey and compliment it with a shirt that is in white or a pale blue colour. Wear a plain black belt and plain black, polished shoes.
- Aim for smart not sexy- If you choose to wear a skirt or dress then anything above the knee should be avoided. Mid-length is best. The same goes for your top. Avoid anything low cut and if wearing a blouse, keep it tucked in, opt for long sleeves and a collar.
- Stockings are in for 2014 –If you are wearing a skirt or dress then wear flesh coloured or black opaque hoisery and have a spare pair in your bag just in case you ladder them before the interview.
- Don’t forget the nails –Nails should be neat, clean and of a sensible length. In a 2012 survey, interviewers rated untidy chipped nail polish as the worst beauty blunder and the first thing they notice as they shake hands upon arrival.
- Do you have the most fabulous pair of killer heels?
Save them for the weekend or a night out. Aim for elegant closed in heels to avoid teetering (or slipping!) and click clack sounds. Check that your heels and toes aren’t scuffed and please, please remove the price tag from the sole!