Last week we talked about the importance of first impressions and handling nerves at interviews.

You can add further impact to your interview by being aware of a few simple rules which you can follow:

• Consider what the job entails and the type of work you will be doing – and dress accordingly. Don’t wear a suit and tie for a builder’s labourer’s job. – and you probably won’t have too much success if you opt for jeans and a t-shirt if applying for an office based job.

• If you have done your research properly you will have some idea of what the company climate is. You might know someone who works there, or you may have visited the organisation and taken note of how the employers generally choose to dress. This will give you a feel for the climate of the organisation.

Employers want to find the best qualified applicant, but they also want a employer who fits the company culture, who will fit into the team structure which already exists. In choosing your dress style you are aiming to show them that you will fit in just fine.

• Avoid overdressing, aim for a slightly understated look, which means no flashing or tinkling jewellery, avoid visible body piercing and while it seems unfair, cover up that fantastic tattoo you got that stretches from shoulder to wrist,

Small tattoos are a talking point, but given two equally matched candidates at an interview, the one wearing short sleeves and naked ladies up each arm is unlikely to get the job. This is particularly true if the job entails face to face customer service. If you are so adorned I suggest you wear a long sleeve shirt – unfortunately perception plays a large part in people’s judgement, and that includes any future customers you may have to deal with if you should get the job.

• If you are a fan of power dressing – then go for it – remembering the previous points. But I think it is preferable to let your choice be dictated by who you are.

• Employers look for a candidate that displays commitment, hard work and determination. Clothes can give a subtle message that you possess all these qualities – they can also suggest that you don’t.

While what is considered acceptable business dress has relaxed over recent years, do not be fooled into thinking that appearance no longer matters, it does. Take care over your appearance and aim to be neat and tidy, if the candidate shows that they can’t be bothered how they look then the interviewer may have reason to believe they won’t be bothered when they are working either. If the job entails some sort of public interaction this will be an important criteria.

If in doubt – opt for a conservative approach. First impressions, while they cannot substitute for sound preparation are, nonetheless, highly important. Decisions are sometimes made in the first minute or so of the interview.

Give yourself the opportunity to shine at the interview.

Trish @Trischel

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