We have always heard it said that “looks don’t matter” or “it’s what’s inside that counts”. Well although this may be true, when walking in to an interview environment the first rule is looks do matter.
Research shows that the overwhelming majority of communication done between individuals, especially ones meeting for the first time, is done through non-verbal cues. Non-verbal communication is very broad in nature ranging from appearance, attitude, how one carries oneself, smile, body language, eye contact, breathing patterns, laugh, voice and speech patterns. The list goes one but we will just focus on those relevant to participating in a stellar interview.
When meeting someone who may become your potential boss, the hiring manager, or an influential assistant, an appropriate, positive first impression is vital. Basic assumptions like good hygiene should be a given, clean shaven – clean clothes – clean body.
However, clothing style, hair style, outerwear, shoes, even umbrellas, bags, briefcases and purses should be appropriate to the position you are interviewing for. Nothing will hurt your chances more than walking into an interview with flip-flops, a wrinkled shirt, an old stain on the tie, or a hand bag with glitter across the side. You want to make the right impression that says you are serious about the interview, you want the job, and you are a right fit for the company.
Looking into the dress code of a company you are interviewing with is a great way to find out the right clothes for the job. Dress codes vary so it is definitely something to check into. High style is fine, even looked for in some industries but keep it conservative for the interview. Nothing should be worn that is too short, too tight, or too stylish; it might intimidate or present you as over or under qualified. After you land the job then you can get decide how far to expand the wardrobe.
Aside from your clothes, other areas to keep in check during interview preparation include items carried like a bag, purse and even umbrella. Make sure your entire ensemble is in line with the professional image you are trying to convey. Come to the interview prepared with a notepad, quality pen, additional copies of your resume and all other pertinent documentation. Poise yourself to portray the professional you are and one who is self-confident, prepared, and able to handle the job.
Other interview non-verbal communication skills to sharpen include; presenting a firm handshake, making and maintaining eye contact, walking confidently and displaying pleasant attitude are all ways to benefit your first impression. Work at finding something to “connect” you and the employer. Look around the office, does he enjoy deep sea diving, chess, or golf like you – mention it! This will help to break the ice and bring emotional connections into the picture – and help you be remembered.
Like everything in life, you have to work for anything that is worth having. If this job is worth having then go for it! Make it happen – you know you are right for the job, the only thing you have to do is convince the employer. The right looks and preparation is the key!!