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Looks do matter in job interviews

Media release 31 March 2008

Looks do matter in job interviews

Candidates need to pay more attention to their personal image during job interviews if they want to be successful, says a leading recruiter.

Megan Alexander, senior manager at Robert Half, says failing to research the company and its culture is one of the biggest mistakes a job candidate can make.

“There’s no point turning up to a job interview in a suit and tie if the company has a creative, casual dress code and everyone else is dressed in jeans and open-necked shirts,” says Alexander. “Immediately, you show you are not a good fit for the company and, no matter how technically proficient you are, you are unlikely to get the job.”

When Robert Half puts forward a shortlist of candidates to be interviewed by the employer, often it is not the most technically proficient person who is successful, says Alexander.

“Job interviews are only about 50% about technical skills,” she says. “The other 50% is about whether you fit the company - whether you share the company’s values, whether you’ll be comfortable in the company’s culture, whether you’ll work well within company teams.

“The way you look will immediately create an impression about whether or not you fit the company. If the impression you create is that you don’t fit, very little else you do or say in the interview can change that.”

Alexander recommends candidates go as far as to visit the company before an interview, to see what other employees are wearing and get a feel for the company culture. Then they can arrive at the interview dressed appropriately and be able to show how they are a good fit for the company.

Candidates should also be aware of other personal presentation skills to ensure they created the right image at an interview, she says.

“Does your handshake convey confidence, or do you need to practice a stronger, more assertive handshake? Are you able to make and maintain good eye contact during an interview? Have you researched enough about the company to ask intelligent questions that no other candidate will ask?

“By paying attention to how you present during an interview, and finding out as much about the company culture as you do about the job description and its technical requirements, you are much more likely to land your dream job.”


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