I have a client right now in the preliminary stages of being interviewed by a major news network. We chatted about how to present yourself to media. The advice I gave her though is the same advice I would give you in an interview coaching session.
Let’s go over a few key points on your physical image:
- Dress the part. Too often people fail to remember that they are creating a first impression. Dress appropriately. For my client, I reminded her that you need to choose clothing that not only fits well but colors that compliment your skin color. On television, the cameras notice everything. But even in person, if you pay attention to what colors make you feel better or make your eyes shine, perhaps this is what you should be wearing. When WAOW-TV came to visit a few weeks ago, I changed from my red fleece top to a green blazer. The blazer looked more professional and I could more easily hide the microphone. I would never wear a brown blazer though because I would look all washed out. Every person has different colors that they look better in, wear that to the interview.
- Check your make-up. Ok, this is mainly for the ladies. When you are on camera, you need to enhance your makeup to let the camera pick up your features better. However, if you do the same thing for a job interview, you will probably overdo it.
- Watch your perfume or cologne. I’ve gotten to the point where I don’t wear any these days mainly because in the summer, I attracted bees and some scents were giving me headaches. You don’t want to have the interviewer end up with a migraine because you overdid the perfume or cologne.
What about the image you are projecting?
- Be cautious when you talk about former employers. I always advise clients not to burn bridges and the fastest way to burn one is to launch into a dialogue listing the faults of your former employer. The new hiring manager is wondering how long it will take you to speak badly about them.
- Use the same caution in talking about politics. In an ideal world, you would only want to work for people whose politics match yours but since this is reality, assume that you run the risk of offending someone if you start venting about politicians, policy, or government actions.
- Review your accomplishments before the interview and make a note of them so that you can quickly recall something to interject into the conversation when they ask a question like “what are the top 5 contributions you made during your career?” Take the time to quantify the accomplishment with accurate numbers. Melissa Cooley, The Job Quest, did a good job of explaining this here.
- Sound like you know what you are talking about. Do your homework on the company before you get to the interview. Make sure you know the product line, review who is in charge, and check out the past revenues.