By Stephanie Clark
Preinterview syndromes include anticipation and elation; post interview syndromes, confusion and deflation! And it’s no small wonder! Sometimes the questions are confounding; panel members appear to have drifted off; job descriptions hardly resemble the job postings; and those promises of benefits and pensions, once explained in detail, are in the distant future and only scratch the surface of true value. And the balance of power can leave a candidate feeling like a dinosaur trapped in a bog— at the mercy of predators, unable to make a good move. I’m glad that you are here. Someone once said that “ignorance is bliss,” but not when it comes to interviews! Ignorance means defeat; knowledge leads to victory. This blog will walk you through strategies that attract rather than distract your interviewers, and will lead you to landing a job offer.
Most job applicants are aware that when they prepare for an interview, first impressions count, but few consider to what degree. Research shows that visual impressions count for 55% of first impressions! This means that appearance accounts for over half of your first impression. Appearance covers a lot of ground—hairstyle, grooming, clothing, body language—there’s a lot involved here. Articles on interviews will suggest a haircut, that deodorant is a good idea, and that your clothes be clean and shoes polished. However, if you are to apply strategy, you must go beyond this.
Paint a picture that matches expectations. If you have been told that you appear quite young, seek out advice on how to add a few years to your appearance. A pair of glasses (even non-prescription if you don’t need them) might be in order; a subdued suit for either gender; clothing that doesn’t portray you as even younger than you are. Conversely, if you are considered on the “mature” side, a stylish pair of frames, modern hairstyle, and a trendy suit will go a long way to dispelling a perception of stodgy and inflexible.
Don’t lose your chances to a bad first impression. Seize this opportunity to dispel possible misconceptions with strategized perceptions. You’re off to a good start.