Although the old trick of imagining your interviewers naked might not help you relax, you could try some techniques to boost your confidence before going in, such as breathing exercises or assuming a power pose. Some also swear by using mindfulness — living in the present moment — as a way to manage stress.
However, it is not just job candidates who need to create a good first impression — employers have to do so as well if they want to secure the best talent. According to research commissioned by specialist recruiter Robert Half, over a third of job candidates worldwide make a decision about a role within the first five minutes. Whatever field you work in, making the effort to present yourself well will help you make the best possible first impression, so be sure to dress to impress. It is also crucial for employers to present their organisation in the best possible light by creating an appealing and authentic employer brand that is consistent across their website, social media channels, and recruitment system.
Although portraying a slightly fictional version of yourself might initially get favourable results, in the long run, any exaggerations or falsehoods will eventually be found out.
Likewise, it is vital that employers give an accurate and honest first impression of their culture, and of the job role, at interview. Ensuring that you are organised is also crucial for creating a favourable first impression, both for potential employees and employers. Thoroughly preparing for an interview — such as by researching the organisation and its services, and planning your route to the meeting location — will help you to feel more empowered and confident.
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Recruiters and employers should be equally well organised. Using modern technology, such as a high-quality HR system , will help you standardise and reliably follow recruitment procedures, and welcome new hires into your company thanks to effective onboarding processes. Of course, you do need to remain professional, so getting the balance right is key — coming across as the life and soul of the party may be a step too far, while being too serious may make you appear unfriendly.
Candidates will also be assessing whether this is a workplace they will be happy to spend time in, so hiring managers should take a friendly tone and inject a little light-heartedness into the interview where possible. So, whether you are an employee or an employer, the importance of making a great first impression should never be overlooked.
This could make all the difference between success and failure — of your career, or of your organisation — and should give you an edge over your competition. This article was first published in March It was updated in July for freshness, clarity and accuracy. By submitting this form you accept the terms of our Privacy Notice.
My goal is to simplify things for you. Interviews are stressful enough. Smart Casual is a pretty ambiguous style, so it can be tough to know how to draw the line between too casual or too formal. While many outfits can fall into both categories, there are differences between the two. For instance, business casual tends to require a more conservative style of dress while smart casual can be more fashion-forward.
Overall, Smart Casual is great because it lets you show off some of your personality during the interview. Just make sure to err on the side of professional.
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Top: Button down. Bottom: Chinos navy, olive, khaki. I love ankle cropped pants here, since they give a more relaxed look. Shoes: Ballet flats. If your outfit is neutral, you can safely wear shoes with a color or mild pattern.
How to Make a Killer First Impression Before You Even Open Your Mouth
But if you already have some patterns going on in your top, opt for more simple shoes. Accessories: Less is more. How easy was that? I bet you could put something like this together without having to buy anything new. Go for small earrings with a basic gold or silver necklace.
With Smart Casual, aim to express yourself, but stick to simple and conservative clothes. You should look relaxed, yet polished. If you could wear this outfit to work in the morning, the interview in the afternoon, and then to a dinner with your parents, you know you hit the jackpot. Business Casual is a super popular interview style. This look strikes an even balance between casual and corporate, so you can walk into most offices and feel like you fit in. Your Business Casual outfits should be elevated from your Smart Casual look. You definitely still have room to show your personality here, but there are some staples you should stick to in order to make sure you nail this dress code.
A tailored blazer is the easiest way to class this look up. If your blazer is black or blue, you can opt for a blouse with a soft pattern.
The Image of Success: Make a Great Impression and Land the Job You Want
And if you have to go out and buy that blazer, there are tons of reasonably priced options out there that are super cute. With Business Casual, your main goal should be to keep things professional and relaxed. Just balance any patterns or color with neutrals and you will be good to go. This is admittedly my least favorite category. I promise! Thanks to evolving fashion trends, women have much better Business Formal options than we used to. The suits today look feminine and dare I say…trendy?
The Image of Success: Make a Great Impression and Land the Job You Want
Ok, trendy may be stretching it a bit, but at least you can wear a suit without engulfing yourself in shoulder pads and excess fabric. You can rent a Business Formal outfit instead of buying expensive clothes that will probably sit in the back of your closet for eternity after your two hour interview. Accessories: Opt for simple gold or silver pieces.
Earrings and a watch will do. This is a pretty standard formal interview outfit. Especially if heels kill your feet. There are plenty of flats out there that look nice enough to pair with Business Formal attire.
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You can look formal and still be comfortable. Make sure your dress pants fit you well length, waist, etc. My goal is to make this as simple and painless as possible. The good news for us is that our choices are pretty cut and dried. Your best bet is going to be a neutral button down, chinos, and shoes that are nicer than sneakers. While most non-interview Smart Casual outfits will include jeans, I would not recommend wearing jeans to your interview.
Better safe than sorry.
A Simple Rule Of Thumb For Deciding What To Wear To An Interview
White button down, khakis, and leather shoes. Business Casual has some more structure for us guys. Instead of distressed chinos you may want to opt for clean, tailored chinos or slacks. No tie needed at this point. Awesome, see?
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