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Your Interview Perception vs. Reality

Your Interview Perception vs. Reality

Gladys Stone & Fred Whelan, Monster Contributing Writers

In our work as recruiters, we clearly have experienced situations where what we see and what the candidate thinks he is presenting could not be farther from each other.

For example, let’s say Jeremy waltzes into our conference room and plops himself down in the chair. His hair is a mess and his shirt looks like it needs some spray starch and a hot iron. Jeremy thinks he’s presenting a picture of someone who is self-confident, comfortable with himself, not looking too eager about the open position and not intimidated by a couple of recruiters.

His personal grooming choices make his solid qualifications moot, because it’s hard to get over his appearance. Our first thought would be that Jeremy is recovering from a late night on the town. His posture indicates his energy is low and his half-closed eyes convey that he is trying (unsuccessfully) to stay awake during the interview. His wardrobe malfunctions reflected a lack of preparation for the important meeting. After all, you only get one chance to make a first impression.

Poor personal grooming and sloppy attire can detract from that all-important first meeting. It does not take a lot of time to check your overall interview presentation, and it is definitely worth the effort. Here are some cautionary tales and tips for making a favorable impression.

Interview Advice: Consider How You Look and Smell

A colleague once interviewed a woman in her late 20s who made the mistake of unbuttoning too many buttons on her blouse. The young woman thought she looked terrific, but in reality her interview presentation was very distracting. Then there was the promising candidate who scored highly in the phone screening. Impressed by what he heard, the recruiter set up an in-person interview at his office. Imagine his astonishment when the early-30s man walked in wearing a tie with a knot the size of his knee cap. Sadly, this person was not trying to make a fashion statement.