Perceptual experts tell us we have six seconds to make a first impression. Those six seconds contain powerful imprints that become difficult to challenge or overcome the longer the interview goes on.
It may seem unnecessary to mention this, but heavily creased clothes, ear and nose hair, sweaty hands (or extremely cold hands in winter), mussed hair, loud or outdated clothing, dirty fingernails and/or hands, dirty shoes and, the list could go on for a page, send an unpleasant message to most interviewers. I say most because, in some industries, a grungy look can be seen as desirable and stylish.
In addition, the smile (or lack thereof), the good handshake (or lack thereof), the nature of the eye contact (or lack thereof), can be perceived in this culture as being an indication of confidence or lack thereof. And, in this culture, self-confident people almost always do better on interviews and in their careers than those who are perceived as being tentative or shy.
I do understand that in other cultures, such behavior can be seen as being respectful. Yet for most U.S. employers how you dress when you arrive at the interview sends a signal about your personality as do your handshake, eye contact, smile, etc.
My encouragement to you is to always conduct yourself in culturally appropriate ways. U.S.based behavior would not be successful for interviews in Japan, the Peoples Republic or areas of India and Pakistan. An American interviewing for a position there would need to adapt to those cultures.
The reverse is also true.
ABOUT JEFF ALTMAN, THE BIG GAME HUNTER
Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter is a coach who worked as a recruiter for what seems like one hundred years. His work involves career coaching, all as well as executive job search coaching, job coaching, and interview coaching. He is the host of “No BS Job Search Advice Radio,” the #1 podcast in iTunes for job search with more than 1900 episodes, and is a member of The Forbes Coaches Council.
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