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“Flip-Flops & Tiaras” – How To Present yourself at an interview

March 26, 2018

I remember seeing a comedian on TV a few years ago, I think it was Alan Davis, talking about avoiding getting a job when he was younger, and he said something like;
“In the event of an unexpected interview… wear flip-flops.

Senior businessman interviewing business woman while sitting at office.

As people say, it’s funny because it’s true. In almost all cases, the decision to give someone the job is based on skills, experience and suitability. However, if you make the wrong impression then getting to the stage where those qualities are seen is that bit harder. By not following some simple courtesies when you go for the interview, you can easily appear less suitable for the position, or even as if you don’t care about getting the job in the first place. At the same time, leave the tiara in the cupboard, please!

Here are seven basic inteview rules we see broken regularly.

  • Dress correctly – Keep the jewellery and make up discrete. If you are not sure if it is a suit and tie occasion, play safe and put them on. Remember shoes and coats will likely be seen as well.
  • Be comfortable – There is a bit of a trade-off to be done here. Yes, you want to look smart, but at the same time you want to be comfortable as well. Worn doesn’t need to mean scruffy. Find a nice, well presented, interview outfit you feel happy wearing.
  • Body Language means a lot –
    • A firm handshake (not a bone crushing ‘Hulk’ grip or a wet fish) is always the right thing to do.
    • Don’t cross your arms because it can make people feel you are cutting them off and are not interested.
    • Make eye contact because it suggests you are confident and interested.
    • Smile… oh please do smile.
  • Make the effort with hair – Again there is no need to overdo it but greasy hair, windswept messes, too much gel, and so on, are not doing you any favours.
  • Speak as if you mean it – There is no need to shout, but you need to make yourself heard. Mumbling is never going to be a good thing. A good tip is to practice speaking normally into your phone and then play it back to see how you sound.
  • Smell nice but keep it low key – There is only one thing worse (see below) than being assaulted by an eye-watering cloud of perfume or body spray. Try to avoid the temptation to just add one more spray before you go in because everyone will be able to tell.
  • If you smoke… don’t before the interview! Many people find the smell of smoking very unpleasant and worse, some brands smell a little bit dirty. Your choice to smoke is up to you, but it is better not to inflict it on the panel. A mint is not the answer though because it will just make you smell of mints and smoking. Time is the only thing that really works. Have that last ciggy a good half an hour before the interview and never leave your interview clothes in a smoky environment.
    Interviews are hard enough without allowing the wrong impression to make them worse, and it’s important to do the little things that make them easier.

We are always happy to talk to you about interview techniques so just give us a call and we will see how we can help.

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