Making a Good First Impression
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A good impression results from
a combination of factors which includes your manner of dress, your body
language, and your attitude. They say that the interviewer decides if
(s)he likes you in the first 5 seconds. Read on to see how to make
the best of that 5 seconds.
To suit or not to suit, that is
the question. The answer is not as clear as it was even five years ago.
Many of the interviewers do not wear suits, so what do you do? If you
have a chance to observe the company employees at work, you will see how
the they dress and that can help you to decide
what to wear for an
interview. In any case, however, you should dress professionally unless
the interviewer tells you otherwise.
What is professional
- It is fabric on the
conservative side. Avoid large prints and large expanses of bold,
contrasting color, glitter and shine, and excessive trim. This
applies to clothing, shoes, and accessories.
- It is comfort and
appropriateness. Sandals, fishnet stockings, white socks, tennis
shoes, heavy makeup, large amounts of jewelry and too little skirt
are inappropriate. Heavy wool in 100 degree heat is inappropriate,
as is linen in a blizzard. Tight shoes or clothes are not
comfortable. Avoid wearing more than one pair of earrings,
especially if they are not in your ear lobes; two rings on your
hand; one watch; and a necklace or pin - and I don't mean a safety
pin, which is never appropriate.
- It is color and style
that coordinates well. A navy blue striped jacket does not look good
with black pants.
- It is color and style
that flatters you and makes you feel confident.
- It is consideration for
others. Avoid heavy amounts of perfume or after shave - some people
are allergic. Besides, you want a job, not a date.
- It is a dress, suit, or
coordinating jacket and pants or skirt with coordinating shoes and
accessories. Choose clothes you will want to wear again. When in
doubt, ask a sales representative in a clothing store or your career
advisor to help.
We watch each other's body
language all the time, but are often unaware of our own. Yet that is
the first signal that we are happy and confident, or upset and fearful.
Interviewers are especially cognizant of body language, because it can
tell them so much about you.
- Greet the interviewer
with a firm handshake, a smile, and good posture.
- Sit in the chair with
your back straight, but not rigid, your arms and legs relaxed,
neither spread too far apart, nor drawn in tight to your body. It is
O.K. to lean forward once in a while to show your interest.
- Keep hand gestures small
and infrequent. Using occasional gestures to emphasize a point can
add liveliness to the interview.
- Maintain eye contact, but
don't stare. It is O.K. to look away once in a while.
- Remember to smile once in
What you say and how you say it
are equally important.
- Have your answers well
rehearsed, but not memorized. This will help you feel relaxed and
- Avoid saying "um," "you
know," or "like" too often. Pause if you need to think about what to
- Use proper English. The
language you use with your friends may be inappopriate for an
- Listen carefully before
you answer and if you don't understand the question, ask the
interviewer to explain it.
- Focus on the positive.
Avoid being too brief in your answers or too wordy.
- Don't feel you have to
fill the silence. A good interviewer knows that most people feel
uncomfortable with silence and will say anything to fill it up. To
avoid saying something you might regret, wait for the interviewer to
initiate the next interchange.