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First Impressions Last

It's widely believed that most employers make hiring decisions within the first 60 seconds of an interview. There's some truth to this belief. Many interviewers agree that first impressions are lasting and essential to securing a job offer. If the first impression you project is negative, the chance of success is minimal. Therefore, spend as much time planning your appearance as you do practicing your answers to typical questions.

I encourage job candidates to prepare an appearance checklist. Since there's so much to remember on the day of an interview, a checklist will remind you to pay attention to your appearance. Here are some items to include on your checklist: Be sure you wear a clean, dark suit and pressed blouse or shirt. Women should have recently trimmed and professionally styled hair, if possible. Men also should have had a neat haircut. All makeup and nail polish should be understated and compliment your attire.

Remember any aspect of our appearance that is a distraction to the interviewer could hurt your chances of getting an offer. Distractions include too much eye shadow, loud nail polish, large earrings, or an offbeat tie. Ill-fitting clothes is another no-no. Hose with runs, bad breath, dandruff, poor posture, or body odor also should be avoided.

Finally, don't forget footwear. Be sure your socks match and shoes are polished or new. Believe it or not, some senior executives believe shoes tell myriad tales about people so they will look at your feet first!

It goes without saying that you should present a neat and clean appearance for the interview. However, don't overdo it. Too much perfume or aftershave can be annoying. It's best to keep all scents as natural and unobtrusive as possible.

If the weather is foul – raining, snowing, windy – visit the rest room before you present yourself for the interview. Ask the receptionist to direct you, if necessary. You will need to check your hair, shake off your umbrella, and generally get composed. While there, examine your makeup, hair, and teeth to be sure they appear clean. Take a breath mint.

Looking your best will set the right tone for the interview. It will give you more confidence, and present the interviewer with an immediate, professional image. So, take the time to prepare for all aspects of your interview. It will pay dividends!

Appearance Checklist

___Clothing/Accessories – clean suit, polished shoes, matching outfit, little or no jewelry
___Cologne – use sparingly, if at all
___Deodorant – don't forget it
___Makeup – understated; avoid loud lipstick or eye shadow
___Nails – clean, trimmed, neutral color
___Hair – washed, styled
___Teeth – brushed; check prior to interview
___Breath - use mints or mouth wash
___Smile - often

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JMPeters Staffing | 3284 North Bend Rd ., Suite 102 | Cincinnati, OH 45239 | 513-772-0555