Believe it! Kim walks in with his long hair hanging over his eyes, his handshake feels like a wet fish and he shuffles through the door. Do I want to interview him? Not really! His resume looked great – he had the experience, well known and respected employers and the education. He looked great on paper – the reality didn’t look so great!

Now please understand, I am a Human Resources Professional. I know enough to look beyond the reality of what I see in front of me. Yet, it is really hard to get excited about a prospective employee who looks like he or she just crawled out of bed and decided to grace me with the pleasure of his or her presence. Kim was almost one of them. He did not come across as it was my good fortune to interview him, yet, even though I saw value in him for our client, I had to continuously remind myself to look beyond his physical attributes.

Kim is not unusual! Many people project little energy. They do not show they are pleased to be in front of a recruiter – they think their skills are enough to get them the job. It’s not! They also need to show an enthusiasm for the position and for the company who wants to hire them.

As Human Resource and Talent Management Professionals it is our job to assist candidates in projecting themselves in the best possible light. Some things candidates can do to assist themselves when they go into interviews:

  • Dress for the interview – Visit the organization where you want to work. Simply sit outside at the start of the day or the end of the day and see how people dress. Then, dress in like attire for your interview, or perhaps dress a notch above this so you are dressed appropriately to meet the recruiter.
  • Groom appropriately – Today there are still some young men who choose to wear their hair long. If this is your choice, then consider pulling it back off your shoulders and out of your eyes by putting it into a pony tail. Be sure it is clean – shiny looks clean! And, if you are a woman you might also want your hair out of your eyes as recruiters do pay attention to the eyes.
  • Exhibit energy – Look like you have the energy for the job! Walk briskly into the organization and as you follow whomever into the interview. This shows you have the energy to do the work at hand. This could mean doubling the steps you normally take and swinging your arms along with the opposite foot as you step.
  • Give a firm handshake – A weak handshake creates a feeling of wishy-washiness, a feeling of a lack of strength. A firm handshake suggests energy, sincerity and above all, a desire for a relationship. There is no secret in a firm handshake – simply ensure your thumb is firmly engaged in the V of your contact’s thumb and forefinger. This way it is virtually impossible to give a weak handshake.

These few things put you above many candidates.

Then add the other keys to a good interview and you stand a good chance of making it to the next round. Practice your answers to questions, giving not only strong answers but also using eye contact and moving into your interviewer.

Be sure to have questions for the interviewer. Not ones about what’s in it for you, rather questions showing your interest in what you can do to help the organization improve itself showing how you can add to its bottom line.

By looking the part when a candidate goes into an interview they will have a leg up on someone like Kim. They are immediately moving forward instead of beginning at the starting gate. It’s important to be aware of how one comes across to others – if you need to, contact your Career Partners International consultants to help you get ready for your next job interview.