Prepare intelligently for your interview

February 21st, 2009

If you are preparing to attend an interview, then one of the best bits of interview tips I can share with you is to prepare the visual aspects of your presentation as well as you would for a date.

Studies suggest that the impression made by interview skills panel members in the first 4-16 seconds correlates extremely strongly with the overall decision made at the end of the interview.

Ensure that you spend a significant amount of your interview preparation on tweaking how you look.

Here are some tips to help guide you:

  1. Don’t smell too strong! Overpowering perfume or cologne will distract the interview panel from the messages that you are trying to impart. Similarly, ensure that you are clean and don’t smell of sweat, cigarettes or garlic!
  2. For women, don’t flaunt it – even if you’ve got it! It’s not a date. If you detract the male members of the interview panels’ attention, then your messages wont be received as seriously as they deserve. Also, you risk alienating any female members of the panel. Thirdly, if you are successful in getting the post, there may well be some banter going around the department about you that you may not welcome.
  3. Look at your teeth. If they are not sparkling white, then consider using some of the whitening products on offer at the shops or online.
  4. Think about your hair as much as you think about your clothes. It is often a neglected part of a candidates visual presentation. Get your hair cut. Consider whether you need a colour touch up. Ensure that beards and moustaches are trimmed

You should also ensure that you get plenty of rest the night before the interview. It can appear tempting to stay up much of the night to do some last minute revision – just in case this comes up, or they ask that question.

It is imperitive that you are fresh and rested. For one, your thinking will be sharper if you are more alert. But you also want to appear to be a vibrant employee, who will bring life and energy to the department, rather than fatigue and illness.

You have to make certain that you arrive on time. I would advise you to arrive about 10-15 minutes in advance of your alloted time. This will give you the right amount of “wiggle time” should something slow you down, without requiring you to wait around for ages, during which time you may psyche yourself out of your optimal mental state.

It will also deliver the right impression of you being an efficient and punctual employee, who is determined and keen to secure the post.

If you follow the advice in this short article and continue to improve, you will find your interview success. Take care of the impression that you deliver – with your appearance, your voice and your words.

Best of luck in your interviews!

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