The first impression is created based on the way we are dressed for the interview. Photo credit: A and N photography / Shutterstock
It is unfair to treat a job interview any lesser than a date, for both have a common string of 'impressing' attached to them. At the risk of sounding sexist, I have to say women are scrutinized more deeply than men when it comes to presentation and carriage of self. I have never understood the reason, for all bosses desire well-groomed people in their company, irrespective of the sex. Hence, it is vital for the interviewee to create the right impression from the very first meeting with a prospective boss. A few common errors that women make at such interviews are:
Dressing style: Company cultures are an integral part of their existence and growth, and hence, employers always desire a match with prospects. (Here’s why you should dress like a boss.) The first impression is created based on the way we are dressed for the interview. A lot of us only prepare for technical queries, and forget about the softer side of business environments. Hence, anything too snug or revealing is not the right piece for an interview. Also, hands full with bags, files, laptops, scarves and so on – a common sight outside interview rooms – are a complete no-no. Free your hands to open the room door and offer a firm handshake – this will not only look neat but also express planning, comfort and confidence.
Avoid leaving your hair open for the interview. Photo credit: antoniodiaz / Shutterstock
Hairstyling: Women with longer hair prefer to leave them open to accentuate their femininity. However, for job interviews, this can be seen as a lack of styling sense. Professional conversations need a clear view of everyone’s face and eye contact. Multiple rounds in a day mean that you need to look well-kept for longer hours with minimal attention. Open hair need regular attention, and longer durations can leave them messy. If tied neatly, this is one less thing to take care of and will help you concentrate on more important interview-related information. (Here are hairstyling tips for busy, working women.)
Unkempt hands and feet: We forget that hands and feet are sometimes the only bare skin areas we reveal. An interviewer gets to not only see, but use them as a basis to judge us as a person and our lifestyle. Dirty, dry, unscrubbed hands and feet with irregular nail sizes and polishes are a common sight amongst interviewees. These hint towards an unkempt, unhygienic and unplanned personal lifestyle. It doesn't take much to keep our hands and feet clean and moisturized. (Read this on how to keep your feet pretty for open sandals, and read how to do a pedicure at home.)
Body hair: We all have busy lives and do not have the luxury of time and at times, resources, to take care of ourselves regularly. Despite this, we can at least dress appropriately to avoid any embarrassments caused due to such negligence. Often, women wear short skirts, short-sleeved or sleeveless blouses for interviews. It is a great look to carry but not when one hasn't had the time for hair removal (are you getting waxed correctly?). Make sure you have planned either your salon visit or your wardrobe well! (Read also: Natural ways to go fuzz-free.)
As the saying goes, when in Rome, do as the Romans do. So do hold on to your unique fashion sensibility, but match it to the official environment to avoid embarrassing yourself and others around.
Go ahead and rock that interview!
Neeraj Gaba is one of India’s leading personality development experts. With an MBA from Leeds Business School, he is a grooming expert and mentor on India's Next Top Model aired on MTV. Read more posts from him on his Fashion101 Blog.