On the day of the interview

It’s the day of the interview! Calm those butterflies by getting an early start and a good breakfast and then focus on your preparation for the interview. It may be a massive cliché but remember that ‘first impressions matter’! So make sure you apply the following tips on the day of the interview to give yourself the best chance of making that all important first impression count:

  • Be punctual

This is the best first impression you can make! If anything be early or, at the very least, on time:

Video Calls – If it’s a video call make sure you’re in the waiting room at least 10 mins before the start of the meeting. Most interviewers will convene on the video call a few mins prior to the start of the interview, so they will see when you join and you will only get in if they admit you, so don’t worry about crashing a meeting that’s already running.

Face to Face Interviews – The same principle applies here as with a video call. Make sure you have planned you day so any meetings, appointments, childcare etc is all taken care of so you can fully focus on making the interview on time. Be conservative with your travel plans, don’t expect everything to run smoothly or on time. You can’t be late or miss the interview if you’re early!

Arriving early shows that you are willing, organised and professional. It also demonstrates that you appreciate the time of your interviewers and value the opportunity – it will never harm your chances to be early for an interview!

Top Tip – Check your internet connection for a video call in good time before you join the meeting. Restart your PC or tablet to avoid any potential connectivity issues and have a back-up device ready to re-join the meeting, in case you experience any difficulties.

  • Personal Appearance

The objective you should have before every interview is to leave your interviewers remembering you for all the right reasons. By making sure that you are correctly attired for your interview can mean that your interviewers won’t even remember what you were wearing… but that is exactly what you want! Why? Let me explain by asking 1 question:

  • Do you want the interviewers to be discussing the way you are dressed or how you looked after the interview, when they could be discussing your suitability for the job? NO

Any time that your interviewers spend talking about you but not talking about whether you demonstrated that you can do the job, that you would be a great asset to the team, and company is a waste of the time where they could be talking about those things!

So what is ‘appropriate’ attire for an interview?

Remembering the principle that you don’t want people to be talking about what you wore for the interview, think of a rough 1-10 scale of smartness – from a male perspective:

2Joggers & sweatersBed/Sofa/Gym
3Jeans & t-shirt/polo shirtSofa/shopping/leisure
4Jeans & a shirtshopping/leisure/drinks/dinner
5Jeans, shirt & suit jacketshopping/leisure/drinks/dinner
6Trousers & shirtWeddings/funerals (people who don’t usually wear smart clothes)
7Trousers, shirt & tiework/interview/meeting
8Suit, shirt & tiework/interview/meeting/church
9Suit, waistcoat, shirt & tiework/meeting/church

Make sure you are around the 7 or 8 mark. Other outfits that you have may look nice, you may feel more comfortable in or your partner thinks you look great in them, but you can never overdress for an interview – unless you wore a tux, which would (yes, you’ve guessed it) be a topic of conversation about you once the interview is over! In terms of footwear, don’t wear trainers, sandals or anything that doesn’t go with 7/8 on the scale or trainers that are fully black so you think they look like shoes. That may have worked at school, but it won’t work in the workplace!

If you are female and looking for specific tips on what to wear for an interview, then it is likely that you will already know better than me, so I will not be offering any specific advice beyond the principle of 7/8 out of a scale of 10… Although with the combinations available, it might well be a principle of 70/80 out of 100!

Does it matter what you wear if it’s a video call?

If they can see you then it matters. Ok, so everyone laughs about attending Zoom meetings in their pants – but what if you need to get up for something, and you forget? What if you camera falls down and exposes you? What if you knock your laptop camera down accidently, or the dog/cat/child does? The key is to minimise the risk as much as you can and avoid any potentially embarrassing or memorable moments. Don’t worry about wearing shoes though, but preferably socks per the comments above!

Does it matter what type of job you are going for?

You may be reading this and thinking to yourself “it’s just a job in a pub” or “I’ll be in overalls for the job” but, in my opinion, it doesn’t matter. If you were to dress up in a minimum of trousers, shirt & tie for that interview, would you be in danger of not meeting their expectations? No! The minimum you would do is meet their expectations, and the best is to exceed them! If you go in your jeans and a shirt, will that work? Maybe it will be fine, but maybe it won’t be – there is a danger that the way you have dressed will not meet their expectations and it could go against you.

Top Tip – Don’t worry if you clothes are not the most expensive, it’s not a fashion show! But make sure your clothes are clean, smart & presentable, and give your shoes a polish. Also, make sure you are clean and presentable, your breath doesn’t smell, you don’t smell (but don’t go overboard with the cologne either!) and you don’t have food stuck in your teeth!

Will they take the mickey out of you a bit when you start the job because you dressed smartly for your interview? Perhaps they will a bit, but at least you’ll have the job!

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