Career Tips

Presenting yourself at an interview: an invaluable checklist for first timers

Posted: 18/06/2014

Like it or lump it, the way we appear to others in professional situations has an effect – and in an interview that effect is either going to be positive or negative, it may even become the deciding factor between you or a competing candidate securing the role. At Sage, we provide all our students with branded polo shirts. Why? Because they look smart, professional and clean, befitting of a professional environment, this is especially important for students engaging with the public, in work placement, or even training at our student massage clinic.

Similarly, when presenting yourself for interview it is imperative to take the process seriously and dress professionally. Your whole appearance needs to be considered – and we’re not talking about good looks here – we’re talking about grooming: the state of your hair, nails, skin, teeth, and (heaven forbid…) body odour all need to be addressed.

It’s an important subject but we thought we’d make the point with a tongue-in-cheek checklist. Remember, it might be funny on paper but it won’t be if you don’t get the job! So read carefully:

1. I am wearing something similar to what people already working at the organisation wear, but I am dressed 25% smarter. Yes/No

2. Making a fashion statement is not my number one priority. I am dressed conservatively as the panel is quite likely to be made up of conservative, professional people. Yes/No

3. I am not wearing clothing that would make a statement at a cocktail party. My outfit would not be remembered for its quirkiness or fashion-statement flair! Yes/No

4. I want people to take me seriously and am therefore dressed more formally than informally. Yes/No

5. (Men only) I am wearing a tie and jacket, even if the job does not require it. I know I am looking my absolute best, in order to impress! Yes/No

6. (Women only) My shoulders, chest and midriff are covered. I am not wearing a miniskirt. I look professional. Yes/No

7. I have made sure that it is impossible to see through my outfit – It can happen! (and I know this for a fact because I have asked one of my friends/housemates to check it for me). Yes/No

8. I have covered up as many of my tattoos as possible and understand that what I think is acceptable has no bearing on what is conservatively accepted in the business world. Yes/No

9. Because I understand the above, I have also removed any nose rings, eyebrow rings or any of the excessive ear piercings I may have. Yes/No

10. I have removed most of my jewellery so that there is nothing that jangles or tinkles, and there is nothing bitty or trinket-like. If any jewellery is worn, it looks neat and smart and enhances my outfit. Yes/No

11. (For women) I am wearing good-quality closed in shoes. (For men) I am wearing good-quality shoes and not wearing sandals. I am certainly not wearing thongs! Yes/No

12. My fingernails are clean and are filed neatly. Yes/No

13. (For women) If I am wearing nail polish, it is conservative in colour. E.g. flesh tones or beige tones are acceptable (steer well away from bright reds and pinks; they rarely work in a professional environment). My nails are cut short in length. Yes/No

14. My hair is freshly washed and styled neatly. If my hair is long and I feel that it could be in the way, I am wearing it up neatly, even using pins or light hairspray where necessary. Yes/No

15. I have cleaned and flossed my teeth. I have looked in the mirror and checked that there is nothing in between my teeth! Yes/No

16. My skin is clean, and if I have spots that are particularly angry I have attempted to conceal them with a light cosmetic/medicated concealer. Yes/No

17. I am wearing deodorant and smell great! Yes/No

Interview tips - My Career in Aged Care18. (For women comfortable with the idea of wearing make-up) I am wearing a light “work make up” that is devoid of bright eye shadow, overly bright lipstick or excessive lip gloss. My make up makes my face look clean, healthy and presents me in a professional light. Yes/No

19. I’m not carrying a music device or any music ear buds around my neck. Yes/No

21. I have immaculately pressed/steamed my shirt/blouse/skirt/trousers. Yes/No

22. I am wearing a smile! Yes/No

All set? Good luck with the interview!

Sage Institute of Child Care – it’s more than a job, it’s a rewarding career.

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