You only have one chance to make a good first impression. The first impression you give to someone is the most important. When someone has an impression of you, it can be hard to change it. Your physical appearance is one of the biggest factors that people consider when forming an impression of you. When you go to an interview, you only have a short time to show the interviewer who you are. An easy way to make a big impact in a short amount of time is to make sure your appearance is professional and appealing.
Even though physical appearance is not the best way to judge a person’s character, it is human nature to form an opinion based on what we see in front of us. However, there is more that goes into looking professional than just dressing the part. Here are four things to consider when preparing to look professional for your job interview:
- Dress to Impress
- Body Language
Let’s take a closer look at what it means to have a professional appearance for a job interview.
The fanciest suit in the world won’t mean much if you wear it without showering first. A professional physical appearance starts with good hygiene. Hygiene includes all of the actions you perform in order to be clean and healthy. Practicing good hygiene before the interview includes taking a shower, brushing and flossing your teeth and making sure your fingernails are trimmed and clean. You want to go into the interview looking and smelling fresh. The high-pressure nature of the interview may cause you to sweat more than normal, so it’s a good idea to use some form of antiperspirant or deodorant.
Once you’ve taken care of your basic hygiene needs, it’s time to groom yourself for the interview. Besides simply being clean and fresh, you should look presentable and professional. Try to keep your makeup to a minimum and keep your hair style simple, so that it will not distract from you and what you have to say.
If you have facial hair, be sure to keep it trimmed and clean. It’s also a good idea to cover any tattoos if you have them, and remove any facial piercings. Tattoos and piercings can also be distracting, and, whether right or wrong, they could also have an impact on your interviewer’s opinion of you. The goal is to present yourself as a clean slate so that the interviewer can make an assessment of you based on your words and skills and nothing else.
Dress to Impress
Most companies have a dress code that they expect all employees to follow. A dress code is a set of guidelines that explains what is appropriate to wear to work and what is not. Before you go to the interview, try to find out what the dress code is for the company. A good rule of thumb to follow is to dress a step up from the dress code for your interview. For example, if the dress code is “business casual,” it would be appropriate to wear a suit and tie to the interview. If you are applying for a job in a retail setting, the employer might require you to wear a uniform to work, so nice pants and a dress shirt will most likely be appropriate for the interview. No matter what you wear, it is important to make sure that your clothes are clean and free of wrinkles.
You should note that your job interview is not the best place to show off your fanciest jewelry. Much like your hairstyle and makeup, you want to keep your accessories simple and to a minimum. Simple stud earrings, a watch and your wedding ring, if you have one, are appropriate accessories to wear to a job interview.
Body language, or the way you carry yourself, is a large part of your physical appearance. Your body language says a lot about you, your mood and your thoughts. It is important that your actions throughout the interview are in line with the message you want to send. You want to appear confident to the interviewer, so it is important to use a firm handshake. It is also important to appear relaxed so the interviewer doesn’t think you are nervous. Focus on controlling excess movement, and avoid fidgeting, talking with your hands and shaking or tapping your feet. Finally, remember to smile. Smiling not only shows that you are friendly, but that you are comfortable and relaxed during the interview.
It is also important to show the interviewer that you are interested and that you care about the interview. It is not enough to just pay attention, you have to show the interviewer that you are paying attention. Sit up straight in your chair with your feet resting flat on the floor. Rest your arms at your side or fold your hands on the table if that is more comfortable for you. Be careful to avoid slouching or sitting back in your chair, as that can give the interviewer the impression that you don’t care. Finally, make eye contact whenever anyone says something to you and when you are talking to someone. Making eye contact shows that you are listening and that you feel comfortable talking to the interviewer.