Appearance Matters – Part V of V


The way you carry yourself in the interview and throughout the process tells the hiring manager much of what he or she needs to know. They are interviewing you not only for your hard skills, but also for your mannerisms and how well you will fit into the group that already exists. If after the first interview you realize your style will never mesh with theirs, you know this job isn’t for you. But assuming everything feels pretty normal, try to mirror their style a bit and hit a rhythm with their pace and overall presentation.

Everyone in the room can be nervous for an interview, so help to calm all the nerves by queueing off the manner and timing of the interviewer, never taking control but doing a good job of following. Look everyone in the eye and give a strong handshake. Listen carefully for instructions and say “please” and “thank you.” Don’t sit until offered a seat, and definitely don’t pull out your notepad until you know the interviewer is ready to get started. When you produce your pen and pad, this signals that you’re ready to get going, and you actually want to delay that. As painful as this is for some of us less chatty people, you will learn things of interest in the chit-chat that may at some point be of great help.

Answer questions as clearly and succinctly as possible, pausing to collect your thoughts before you start, and wrapping up with a clear end when you have said your say. Welcome the silence and for mercy’s sake don’t ramble. Some interviewers will purposely delay asking the next question to make you squirm. Keep your mouth closed, look up, and wait patiently for them to speak.

When the interviewer signals the interview is over, gather your things, stand up, shake their hand and thank them for their time. As your host is walking you out, remember the interview is still ongoing so stay alert and maintain your A Game. Thank those you meet on the way out that you met coming in, but don’t stop to talk unless invited. Never assume or overstay your welcome, no matter how positive this interview has left you feeling. Get well to your car before pulling out your phone, and leave the premises without further ado. Remember, cameras are everywhere and all goodwill can be undone with one fateful mistake.

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