Job Interviews – First Impression Don’ts (a Brutal List!)

The interview may last 30 minutes BUT the decision NOT to hire you may have been made in the first 30 seconds! Here are some examples of things to watch out for.

Not everybody has these problems – very few in fact – but for those that DO have them – it’s a DISASTER.

Bad breath. Some of us have this problem. In a job search you may be well qualified, have the right experience etc. but you’re not the only applicant! We can’t afford to sabotage ourselves like this when we’re facing tough competition. Do yourself a favour. Be brutally honest with yourself. Whether in doubt or not – use a mint, a strong one.

Clothes. We don’t always have to wear a suit. But we always have to be smart, clean, well groomed. Unless you are some ‘guru’ in a rare and specialized field – ‘one of 5 in the world’ you can ill afford to screw up on the first impression stuff.

Some other areas to consider, are these:

(And in the interests of clarity – if you’re in any doubt on any of the points – I’ve added my comments in brackets indicating what’s desirable.)

  • hair (neat, well groomed),
  • weight (get in shape, keep fit, keep energy levels high),
  • height (some things are just unfair – but it’s a fact – taller guys especially stand a better chance),
  • jewelery (keep it simple),
  • facial hair (keep it clean guys, and girls – wax if this is a problem),
  • makeup (don’t overdo),
  • laugh (don’t snort, don’t laugh at the slightest thing, keep it low key),
  • glasses (keep them stylish, not stuck together with sticky tape),
  • neatness (of your files, papers, bag, shoes),
  • smell (use deodorant, but go very light on perfume/aftershave),
  • teeth (brush and floss),
  • smile (be friendly and warm),
  • what you carry (your bag, phone, etc – keep it organized),
  • eye contact (don’t avoid eye contact, smile and look them in the eye),
  • gait (don’t be cocky, walk straight up, don’t drag your feet),
  • posture (stand up straight, don’t slouch when sitting down),
  • voice (keep it low key, don’t talk too loud – nerves make one talk louder, speak slowly, open your mouth when you speak to let the words out clearly instead of mumbling),
  • handwriting (keep it legible),
  • spelling (duh!),
  • thoughtfulness (please, thank you, ‘after you’ – all the things your mum taught you),
  • car (neat and clean – you never know who sees you and reports back),
  • nervous habits (be aware if you have any – wringing your hands, winking, a funny laugh, sitting ‘funny’, moving around in your seat a lot),
  • handshake (keep if firm, keep it dry),
  • availability (often employers want someone ASAP – try to work out a win/win),
  • writing ability (when asked to write a summary or do some test make a quick plan of what you’re going to write, a quick outline first, keep it simple, keep it clear),
  • enthusiasm (employers love enthusiastic, lively people),
  • energy level (stay fit, eat properly, take supplements, make sure you get a very good nights sleep every night).

We are all judged on these things. Fair or unfair. We each judge others on the same basis all the time don’t we? We shouldn’t, but let’s face it: we do – to a greater or lesser extent. So why should we expect others to overlook our shortcomings in these areas? We can do something about most of this stuff can’t we?

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