Don't forget your toothbrush!
Last updated: 20/08/2007 16:41:14
A plea from the heart to all candidates out there to dress appropriately for interviews, especially those for management or sales positions.
 
There are many aspects to a successful interview, and one of the most important is personal appearance. Understand that not only do we have to be able to do the job, and to be able to demonstrate that ability to the employer; we must also play the part from the beginning.

In my experience, it is as important to look right for the role, as it is to talk the right game.

Do not be naive enough to believe that it does not matter, but do not overdo it. Like many things in recruitment it is its negative effect that is important.

Overdress and people will immediately take the opinion that you are too fussy, too pernickety and too precious. Too scruffy and it will simply say that you could not be bothered to make the effort.

A sober, sensible and smart appearance will never be penalised. No male or female candidate will ever have problems dressing in a well tailored, middle of the road suit or outfit, clean shoes and a genuinely professional and businesslike appearance.

Particular areas to worry about are too much jewellery and too much aftershave or perfume. Don't forget you are not going to a glittering evening function; this is a business meeting that could effectively decide your future. Bling, for instance, will certainly lose you more jobs than it will gain.

A particularly common problem among young sales executives is too much perfume or aftershave. You may think a litre of it after your morning shower sets you up right for the day.

You, however, are accustomed to it. For those of us less fortunate it can become distinctly uncomfortable sitting opposite a candidate radiating fumes within a 50yard radius. Do not overdo it.

At the other end of the scale from those over-coiffed, over-prepared hopefuls, there are those who never make the effort at all.

You might have set out with the best intentions, you might put on your best clean suit and even have a shower and wash your hair and a proper shave for the first time in a week. If you are not really prepared to put yourself out then you are likely to forget something. Dirty or muddy shoes are a favourite.

A really touchy problem to finish with - bad breath is the interview killer. The trouble is that even your best friends will not tell you that you suffer. They have probably passed out before they can mention it.

Whatever your qualifications, however, many employers are simply not prepared to spend another period in the same room as someone whose breath smells like old socks, or less seriously like an old ashtray.

Before you start interviewing then check with someone close to you to see if you have a problem. If you do have a problem, then I guarantee that it will be a bigger negative than any problems you might have with your career.

The message is do not take interviews lightly. Dress appropriately - not too well but not too scruffily and you are likely to stand out from the rest of the field even before you start.

If you can do the job as well you might just stand a chance of getting the position.
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