Interviewing for a job can be stressful and competitive, give yourself an edge by strategically planning your appearance. Personal appearance is often overlooked by candidates who are interviewing for new roles, but it is a key component for any stage in the interview process as you only have seven seconds to make a first impression. While you can’t stop someone from making split decisions based on how you look, you can help guide their thoughts in your favor.
Make a statement with your wardrobe that leaves the interviewer thinking you were poised and professional. Your suit doesn’t have to be bespoke, but it does need to be clean and pressed. Double check that you didn’t miss any stains or loose threads. It is important that the interviewer(s) will remember you for what you had to say, not what you were wearing. Steer clear of flamboyant prints and colors and ensure your jewelry is not distracting. Avoid wearing anything you will fidget with as a nervous distraction mechanism.
It’s important to reflect your professionalism with neatly-styled, clean hair. This includes facial hair as well. Beards and mustaches should be freshly groomed and well-maintained. You want to show the interviewer you are taking the meeting seriously. A disheveled look gives wrong impression. Wet hair shows that you didn’t have time to finish getting ready. Take a few extra minutes to double check that your hair looks how you want it to.
Foreign smells prove to be an unwanted distraction for interviewers. Avoid eating a large lunch or smoking prior to your interview. We also recommend avoiding perfume, cologne, aftershave, or other strong fragrances, as this too can be distracting to the interviewer.
What is acceptable for your generation might shock another. While you should express your personality and individualism, it is best to avoid showing off tattoos or piercings. Tattoos can be a great conversation starter after you have the job, but it is best to cover up tattoos during the interview. Small piercings are generally acceptable, but large piercings should be removed for the interview. You want the interviewer focus on your skills and personality, not your tattoos or piercings.
Seven seconds to make a positive first impression is lot of pressure. If you are prepared and feel good about your appearance, your confidence and preparedness will shine during the interview. If you are questioning something about your appearance, change it. You want the interviewer to describe you as the sharp, enthusiastic candidate, not the person who showed up unprepared.
For more information on this topic, or to learn how Baker Tilly staffing specialists can help, contact our team.