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Own Your Interview and Make That Crucial First Impression Count!

There are more of us looking for work now than there ever has been but the sad fact of the matter is that there are fewer jobs to go around. As such, interview opportunities will be nowhere near as plentiful as they were 10 or even 5 years ago so instead of simply writing off the odd interview as a ‘valuable learning experience’, you should be treating every interview with the same level of care and attention. Of course, one of the most important things to take into account with any interview is that you only get one chance to make a first impression. Here we’ll be offering a few valuable tips that could prove vital in helping you make the right impression and net the job of your dreams in 2014.

  • Grooming – For men especially, the idea of grooming oneself might appear more than a little daunting. We’re not talking about any kind of elaborate ‘man-scaping’ horrors here just basic, obvious cleanliness. Also, a clean shave always goes down well with employers, a tidy haircut will be appreciated too, and a subtle but pleasant aftershave will give you an air of relaxed professionalism.
  • Tattoos – We’ve come quite far in recent years when it comes to the social acceptance of tattoos in the workplace, but it’s still vital for interviewees to keep any body art hidden at the interview stage as some employers still might harbour negative feelings towards them. Of course, if you’re interviewing for a creative job this won’t be an issue, but in a professional environment be sure to keep the tats under wraps.
  • Accessories – A well knotted tie, a classy, elegant briefcase and a sleek belt could be just as important in creating your overall ‘look’ as your shirt and trousers. So don’t completely write-off the idea of accessorising.
  • When in Rome – You don’t want to turn up at an interview for a multinational bank wearing shorts and sandals but conversely you wouldn’t want to turn up for an interview at a ‘hip’ internet startup or game design firm wearing a suit. Do your homework beforehand and make sure your look matches the working environment of the company.
  • Standing Out – Of course, whilst it is important to dress in a manner befitting the situation, you don’t want to be so plainly dressed that you’re forgotten the moment you leave the interview. Subtle touches like bold coloured ties or a small smattering of jewellery could really help you stand out from the herd. Be careful not the go too far mind. Nobodies ever got a job based on their ‘bling’ (unless you’re applying for a job as P Diddy’s personal assistant, which I really hope you’re not).
  • Suiting Up – If you decide to go the suit route (a decision which will depend very much on your potential profession) then there are a lot of variables to take into consideration. If you’re especially tall, short, wide or thin then you might want to consider having a custom suit tailored for you. This might be expensive, but the comfort and form of a bespoke fitted suit is impossible to describe, it’s something you really have to see and feel for yourself. You will also need to consider the various colours and fabrics, all of which will have their own specific eccentricities. Do your research and don’t rush your decision, a suit is for life after all!
  • Don’t Try Too Hard – If you’re really trying to make an impression with your dress sense, it will come across as transparent and unprofessional, especially if you’re interviewing for a job with a fashion house or clothing retailer. Make an effort but don’t forget to stick to what you know (to a point) so as not to undermine your own unique style.
  • Shoes – A good pair of dress shoes that are clean and freshly polished are an absolute necessity, regardless of the job you’re interviewing for. Turning up in knackered trainers, or even relatively smart converse boots will undoubtedly give off the wrong impression. Avoid the dreaded ‘slip-ons’ too, if you can’t be bothered to tie a pair of shoelaces, how can you be trusted as a valuable employee?
  • Know Your Business – Do your research on the company before you step foot in their offices. Be flattering but not too flattering as it could come across as suspicious and sycophantic.
  • Be Kind and Respectful – Especially to the receptionist. The receptionist will act as your employers confidante and link to the ‘outside world’ so if you’re rude to them it will not reflect well on your chances for employment.
  • Put Your Phone Away – We might be living in a modern world where distraction is perpetually hovering over us like a rusty gallows, but that doesn’t mean we have to give in. Keep your smartphone, tablet or laptop in your pocket or bag and put them on silent. This will show the employer that you are capable of giving them your undivided attention.

Ask Away – Don’t be afraid to ask what you should be wearing, what time you should be arriving and how you should be presenting yourself. You might be surprised at just how candid and friendly your potential employers can be!

This article has been written by Philippa. Philippa believes that first impression, when it comes to job interviews, are very important which is why she has put together this guide. This post has been written on behalf of Joseph Turner. Connect with them, here.

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