Video: How to make a good first impression at a job interview

Featuring Beth A. Berk, CPA, CGMA, independent recruiter

Video transcript:

When people are approaching the job interview process, a lot of times they get very nervous or excited or caught up in the process itself and they may spend time researching the job, the people they’re going to meet with, the company and they are all prepared, the résumé is great, everything is ready to go, but they don’t necessarily spend enough time possibly on understanding what kind of presentation they make when they walk into the room. So, for instance, if you haven’t gone shopping for a while for a new suit and you know you’re going to be interviewing, you don’t want to wait till the morning of the interview and realize that, gee, I lost weight or gained weight and my suit’s not exactly fitting where I am representing myself to the best of my abilities. So I think it’s very possible that people just kind of maybe set aside their clothes couple of weeks, a week in advance, if you know you are going to be interviewing, see whether you have the appropriate shoes, socks, whether your shoes are polished or if they’re really scuffed up, maybe you need to buy a new pair of shoes.

For ladies, I think there is a little more latitude of flexibility on how they dress. I know I have a candidate going to interview this week, and I asked the employer, it’s very possible she is coming in straight from work versus having a chance to change, can she come in business casual? Most of my clients will say fine. This particular client stated “let her wear what she feels is appropriate for an interview.” Now that could go work for her or against her, because in their minds, if they expect a suit and this person doesn’t show up in a suit, they may feel the person didn’t dress appropriately and make a good first impression for the job interview. So I suggested to this candidate that she strongly wear a suit even if she has to keep the jacket in the car and put it on when she goes in for the interview.

So I think how you appear, both in terms of your dress, also in terms of your—if, ladies, you have too much jewelry, or if your makeup is a little bit as if you are going out for the evening, and that’s up to you, but if that’s the way you dress every day then I would suggest you dress and put that type of makeup on because you also don’t want to misrepresent yourself in terms of how you are going to show up at the office every day. So you have to take that into consideration as well in terms of making first impressions, of whether you will fit into the style of the organization and how others perceive you if you’re not dressed say as conservatively as they are, or you are much more fashionable and fashion is really important to you, some people may view that as it takes away from getting the work done at the end of the day, and maybe you are more interested in how you dress and how you appear to others than the actual work itself.

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