First Impressions: How to Look Professional At Your Next Job Interview

You’ve heard the saying, “A first impression is a lasting impression.” When you are interviewing for a new job or promotion, this concept is vital to your success.

The average professional will create a perception of you in the first seven seconds of meeting you. Once that perception is set, it’s almost impossible to reverse. So what can you do to make a great impression and set yourself apart from the competition?

Dress Professionally

Regardless of the job, you need to look polished in an interview. You need to look like a professional, otherwise, why should anyone take you seriously? Before you go to the interview, do a little research on the company. Do they have a formal business environment, like a law office? Are they more casual, like a mechanic’s shop?

For men, a casual environment calls for nice slacks and a button-down shirt. Pair your professional outfit with clean, polished dress shoes. A more formal business environment means you need to show up in a nice suit. Avoid excessive jewelry or cologne.

For women, an appropriate outfit for a casual environment would consist of slacks or a knee-length skirt and a button down blouse or nice sweater. You can also wear a professional looking dress, so long as it is not low-cut and the hem is at least to your knees. For a formal interview, invest in a suit.

If you are questioning whether you should wear something to your interview, play it safe and choose something else.


Regardless of the nature of the interview, people want to work with likeable people. Your facial expressions say so much about you, and have a major impact on whether your prospective employer will decide if they like you.

When you walk into the interview, you’re probably going to be a little nervous. Try not to let it show through a force smile. Relax, and give a warm, natural smile.

An additional bonus for a great smile is that it will help to boost your confidence as well! That way, you can let your best ‘you’ shine through and ace that interview!

Watch Your Body Language

When you first meet someone, you’re actually speaking two languages. You are communicating through your words, but you’re also sending a strong message in your posture.

For example, crossing your arms right after meeting someone makes you look closed off and unapproachable. Keep your arms loose, and your hands at your sides.

Try not to fidget, even if you’re nervous. Maintain eye contact, but don’t stare.

You want to come across as confident, prepared, and ready to get to work.

In our upcoming book, The Interview Rule Book, we cover everything you need to know to prepare for any kind of interview. For more information about the book, and other interview prep resources, follow us on Facebook!