I know I have talked about this before, but when it comes to attending an interview, first impressions count.
Over the last few weeks I have been working with Raphaella who this Wednesday will be meeting with undoubtedly one of this country's leaders in the field she is so keen to move into.
I wouldn't call it a job interview per se ... more like an informational interview where ideally Raphaella will get some advice, guidance, words of wisdom, and perhaps even a few names of other key players in the space. Of course if her meeting results in a job offer that would be 'nice', but she is mature enough not to be getting her hopes up (too high!).
When we last caught up, she asked me what she should wear to the meeting and I immediately explained to her that in a market literally saturated with highly skilled and qualified candidates, the notion of making a lasting first impression has never been more important.
After all you can be the most qualified candidate, you could have a killer covering letter, a CV that is the envy of all other applicants, and you may have even narrowed your interview technique down to a fine art. However if you don’t look the part, or you don’t act the part, the person sitting opposite you may not be convinced enough that you could, in fact, play the part. And when all is said and done, that’s what ultimately counts.
She thought about it for a few seconds and then said, "I'm glad you've said that because this week I dropped a bomb at Cue and I know I will be dressed to impress".
Even in an era of smart or business casual and dress down Fridays you need to remember that you are going for an interview so dress accordingly. By no means am I insisting on a business shirt and tie for the gentlemen or stockings and closed toed shoes for the ladies, since different industries reflect different dress standards. But as a general rule, you should dress at a level above the person you are going to meet and if this means putting on a tie, then so be it!
Even if its jeans day at work it’s never jeans day at an interview.
Unfortunately presentation becomes a major stumbling block for far too many otherwise perfectly suitable candidates.
I once interviewed a candidate who arrived wearing a Charlie Chaplin type hat, a bright lime green short-sleeved shirt, and a bow tie that flashed fluorescent lights every few seconds. Given that I wasn’t recruiting for Cirque du Soleil, how well do you think he went?
Another tip ... try not to intoxicate the interviewer with an overdose of perfume or aftershave, and ladies, don’t wear so much bling that you cause a distraction as the sun comes through a nearby window creating a mirror ball effect around you. If you are going for a fashion job (which Raphaella certainly is not), then fashion will be important, but remember unless you are interviewing in an area such as this, then business type dress is far more appropriate.
And finally ... before you arrive at your meeting, make sure you are not chewing gum, make sure you have taken your iPod earphones out, and make sure you switch off your mobile phone.
You only have one chance to make a lasting first impression.
Image courtesy of: canburak