Attire and attitude

Heidi Gibaut, Executive Director at Law at Work, tells us why ‘attire and attitude’ are essential when you’re going for your dream role.

In today’s uncertain economy and overcrowded job market it’s easy to overlook some of the most basic things that can go wrong after we pass the initial candidate screening and rush off to our job interviews. Some people mistakenly believe that getting the opportunity of an interview means landing the job. The reality is that job interviews are intended to showcase those aspects of your professional life and personality that cannot be contained within your resume.

So, what’s important when you walk through the door?


Before you even open your mouth, the recruiter will have already judged you on the basis of your attire. It’s harsh, but that’s the reality – first impressions count a lot. Coming in with rumpled clothes, improper ties, mini-skirts and low cut blouses is not going to work in your favour. If you’re trying to cultivate an executive presence in a formal industry, dress the part by wearing a suit. Does your hair (and make-up, if female) project the image you want to project? Wear something you feel good in; wear an outfit that is clean and fits you well. Making a good first impression starts with being comfortable and confident in your own skin.

You can do a lot to shape the perception of you as positive, enduring and authentic. Practice non-verbal communication, such as shaking hands firmly and establishing good eye contact, to ensure you aren’t doing anything that could damage a good first impression. Remember that your body language is important and smiling is the most universally recognised indication that you’re friendly and approachable. Your attitude, whether you mean to consciously convey it or not, is also a big determinant of how people perceive you.

And that brings me to the most important point: be yourself. It’s a cliché, but the sentiment remains true. There’s no point in making a good impression if it’s one that you can’t maintain; if it’s one that isn’t true to you. Do your upmost to prepare and present your best self, but make sure it’s just that — yourself.

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