Professional Dress and Presentation

Getting an interview is a positive achievement for anyone looking for a job. And to be successful you want to approach it in a positive way. It is your time to shine and you want to present yourself in the best possible way. That starts with how you dress and present yourself, but also includes how well you have prepared by researching the position and company and by anticipating questions you will be asked. Here are some tips for successful interviewing.

Dress professionally — appearances do count

It’s been said many times, but you only get one chance to make a first impression. And the first thing a potential employer is going to see is how you dressed for your interview. This is a professional engagement and you should dress professionally and conservatively. For women, that means business suits or tailored dresses. For men, it means a jacket and tie. Women should be conscious of the neckline of their blouse — it should not be too revealing or distracting and should reflect the business setting and purpose of the occasion. Men should avoid flashy or overly colorful shirts, again to reflect the business setting. Both women and men should avoid excessive jewelry that could distract the interviewer or convey a lack of seriousness. It is always better to dress conservatively, even if the office appears to have a casual dress code Dressing to look professional demonstrates respect — for the job, for the opportunity and for your interviewer. It will help you make that positive impression.

Do Your Research

Before you get to your interview, research the organization. Employers are extremely impressed by candidates who have obviously done their homework. And learn as much as you can about the person interviewing you. This will make you calmer as well as demonstrate to them that you really want the job.

Prepare for questions

As you research the position or company, think of possible questions you will be asked during the interview. Be prepared to discuss your strengths and how your skills and experience will contribute to the organization. Be able to articulate why you want the job. Hiring professionals ask this question more often than not. Be able to express, specifically, the marketable skills you have to offer the organization. Questions you are likely to get from the interviewer include:

  • Tell me about yourself
  • What would you like to know about our organization?
  • Why do you want this job?
  • What do you find most attractive about this position?
  • Why should we hire you?

Presentation Tips

Maintain a positive attitude. Be polite and courteous to everyone you meet.

Learn how to calm yourself down. If you feel yourself getting rattled in or before the interview, take a deep breath and calm yourself.

Let the interviewer get to know you. Don't make the mistake of not sharing enough information during the interview. If the interviewer is unable to gain an accurate picture of your qualifications it defeats the whole purpose of the interview.

Ask for clarification. Feel free to ask for clarification before answering a question. Take some time to formulate your answers before you speak.

Focus on the interview. Don't get off the subject by talking about unnecessary information that wasn't asked. Make sure you answer all questions asked during an interview.

Ask questions. An interview is as much about you getting to know them as vice versa. This also keeps the interview more conversational, thus less stressful. Before going to an interview, have a list of questions about the position and the organization prepared that you would like answered. This demonstrates your interest in the position and the answers you get will help you determine whether the job and the organization are right for you.

Prepare phone surroundings. If the interview will be conducted over the phone, prepare your surroundings. Pick a location with the fewest distractions possible.

Deal wisely with the past. Don't criticize a former employer — that makes recruiters wonder if the problem is with you. Be prepared to talk about past experiences, however. Many interviewers ask such situational questions as "What was the most difficult task you have ever faced?" or "Describe a situation that required teamwork." Anticipate these questions and have an idea beforehand how to answer them.

Follow Up and Say 'Thanks'?. Make some notes about the interview right after you leave. Send a thank you letter ASAP to each interviewer. Every person you talk to at an interview should receive a thank you note. Write them immediately after the interview while everything is fresh in your mind. The letters should be in the mail the next day. Start off the letter by thanking them for spending their time with you. In a quick, concise sentence tell them why you are still interested in the position. Restate what you believe are their needs and demonstrate how you plan to fill them. Add something specific about how you were treated or something they said. This will let them know that you listened carefully to them throughout the interview. Use this opportunity to mention anything you may have forgotten, emphasize points you want the interviewer to remember and reiterate your interest in speaking with them again.

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