FACT of FICTION: Is appearance / presentation a key factor to put you ahead of the rest when it comes to a face to face interview?

I liked this topic because our company runs a series of interviews with a variety of candidates on a regular basis. Our requirement as the recruiter is to not only find a candidate that best ‘fits’ the role, but someone who will also represent the company that they will be employed for. Having taken the opportunity to sit in on the interview process while a series of questions have been asked, not only are the responses accounted for, but how they present themselves, even in group interview environments.


I’m sure all employers at one stage or another have had that ‘potential candidate’ that you have corresponded with to then come in for an interview and you were just gobsmacked when you finally met them face to face. Whether it was the bags under their eyes like they had been out all night, or the untamed ‘bad hair day’, and even the occasional outfit that made you think they rolled out of bed and dressed themselves in the dark…

But then, Voila, there is that ‘Star Candidate’ that walks in with confidence and has been groomed to the ‘T’ – clean and neat hair, has ironed their collared shirt or may even have provided a suit jacket for the occasion. When that candidate walks up to you and shakes your hand with a great smile, eye contact, and a charming charismatic way about them, you can’t help but be bussing about this person after they have left the room.

So what did you as the respondent think in regards to this?

Some of the responses that I liked were:

‘How you present yourself speaks volumes about your level of self-respect, your regard for those around you, and the seriousness with which you are taking your job application and the interview process. If you can’t be bothered getting properly dressed for an interview, your interviewers will not be able to help questioning the kind of attitude you are going to bring to the job.’ And also, ‘Yes! How you dress is how you feel. If you feel confident and eager to obtain the role, then that should shine through in how you present yourself.’

There was also a couple opposing views to the question, ‘Unless you are applying for a Front Desk or Receptionist type of role, personality, skills, qualifications and previous experience should be the first thing that puts you ahead of the rest.’

I thought I would do a bit of research on the topic as well and found that whirlpool.net.au had some very descent tips in regards to appearance for an interview. For men, besides the suit and tie, there may be the five o’clock shadow that may be worth removing before the interview, fresh breath, and even a nice cologne as body odor can be a real turn off. For women, it is making the choice of attire that is suitable for an interview and not a night out, and hair which I have even seen sometimes to be unkempt.

Another website called ehow.com posted an article that stated: While we’d all love to dishonestly claim that appearance doesn’t account for much, we all acknowledge that, despite our best efforts, we use appearances to make judgments and assumptions, especially in the professional arena. When it comes to interviews, your appearance is your first impression. If you make the wrong first impression, it doesn’t really matter if you were the top in your graduating class or saved your previous employers millions because by the time the interview gets to that point, the interviewer’s mind is already made up about you, accurate or not.

The interview process in today’s society may require you to go through two or perhaps three interviews before you are considered for the position. That shouldn’t mean however, that any of the interviews you take are any less important than the other. My message to all of those out there currently applying for roles is to show the person interviewing you that you are serious about the role. Treat every interview as though it is the first or last one to make you stand out from the rest and deserve that position!

This topic can also be linked to our latest press release, ‘How to be the most memorable person in the room’, yet overall I think the decision has been made. FACT: Personal appearance/presentation is a key factor to putting you ahead of the rest in a face to face interview.

Haven’t had your say? Please don’t hesitate to below!