Career Calling

May 5, 2014

Do More than Dress for Success


Experts give advice on how to interview like to emphasize the important of dressing properly. I have no problem with this advice. But it ignores two points that are more important in good interviewing skills. Just as we make a good first impression by dressing properly, we make and maintain a good first impression by listening well and speaking clearly.

Most people are nervous when they interview. One consequence of being nervous is that we’re thinking when we should be focused on what others are saying. Approach an interview as a conversation rather than a test. Your first job is to establish a good connection and turn that into a job offer. Listening is the first step. It is also important to speak in a natural voice. Many of the clients I coach on interviewing behaviors take on what I call an “interviewing voice,” which is soft spoken and hesitant. I recommend that clients also listen to themselves and speak in a normal voice.

So how should you dress? My advice is dress like you were going to meet the boss for an important business meeting. If you don’t know what that means at a given company, be more formal. You’ll learn more about how people dress at a company after you’re hired. It is important to make a good impression. Dress well. Listen carefully. Speak clearly. Get the job.


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