How to Look and Act Professional at a Job Interview

look professional job interview
Faizan Patankar
Written by Faizan Patankar

Got a big job interview coming up? Feeling unprepared? Take a breath and read on to gain your confidence back.

look professional job interview

Image Credit: Ted Murphy

The word ‘interview’ will strike fear into the hearts of many. It’s a very stressful time. All eyes are on you, grilling you for everything you’ve got and you only get given a very small pressure-filled window in which to convince total strangers that you are the best thing since sliced bread.

Heart. Attack.

But fear not, my friends, I am at hand to calm your nerves and guide you in the right direction.

The Look

I know they say that you shouldn’t judge people by what they look like, and I totally agree, but in terms of job interviews, looks matter. So get it right.

1. Dress the part – the lead part.

The main thing you need to have in mind when deciding what to wear to an interview is to dress for the job you want to get, not the job you’re going for. This may seem backwards but it works because not only are you guaranteed to look the part, but you will be ten times more likely to impress.

2. Wear something comfortable.

Make sure you don’t keep adjusting yourself every five seconds because this will make you seem fidgety and nervous.

3. Be prepared.

No, I’m not talking about the cub scouts, I mean be prepared for spills. It’s always a good idea to pack a spare shirt, even if you’re not planning to eat or drink. There will always be someone willing to mess up your perfect outfit with a terribly-timed coffee stain or a projectile ketchup splat.

4. Limit the perfume or aftershave.

Don’t be the one that people remember for their overwhelming scent. No one wants to be that guy/gal. Don’t forget the deodorant, however!

5. Limit jewellery.

This is mostly for women, but men should remember too. No dangly earrings and nothing that makes a noise.

6. Cover tattoos and piercings.

I’m not being anti-tattoos and piercings here because personally I like them, but a lot of places view them as unprofessional. So it’s better to be safe than sorry.

7. Don’t forget the breath mints! 

Enough said.

 [ALSO READ: How to Get your Professional Image Right ]

The Attitude

You’re looking fantastic, and you’re feeling ready, but don’t get ahead of yourself. Remember to go into that room with the right kind of attitude, one that will be received well.

1. Do not bring….

IPods, gum, coffee or any other drink. And make sure your phone is turned off. Not only will this make you look lazy, but fiddling with any of these things will distract both you and your interviewers from what you’re there to do.

2. Be on time!

Nothing is worse than arriving late. Whatever your excuse, genuine or not, this will look bad. Being incredibly early isn’t that great either, however, so aim to arrive half an hour ahead of time and then go for a wander if you actually get there that early.

3. Don’t get distracted.

Maintain eye-contact, keep your focus in the room and listen to every word they say. This is the worst time to be zoning out.

4. Don’t slag off your old boss.

You can give reasons as to why you’ve left, but don’t start ranting about how much you hate your current/previous job.

5. Trust yourself.

Be confident in your abilities and make sure that they know you can do the job.

6. But… don’t be over-confident.

Don’t take it too far. Be confident, but not too much. Asking questions and not knowing everything is okay and actually expected. 

The Knowledge

You’re looking great, feeling great, and now you need to be talking great. Make sure you’ve got the knowledge to back up what you’re saying!

1. Research your company.

Everyone will tell you this, but it is one of the most important and easiest things to do. They will ask you about it, in one way or another, and you need to have an answer for them.

2. Research yourself.

They will ask you a lot about you, so make sure you remember what you’ve done and when. Otherwise they will think what you’ve said on your CV is a lie.

3. Think about questions for them.

They will always ask, most of the time at the end, if you have any questions for them. This is a great opportunity to show your eagerness to learn and your initiative, use it! Think up 3 or 4 questions in advance, just in case 1 or 2 get answered in the interview and you’re left with nothing to ask.

So go forth and get that job! Let us know if you found our tips helpful and if there’s any advice you have to add.

Gemma Cantwell is a blogger for GKBC and has several job interviews coming up. She will definitely be taking her own advice!

About the author

Faizan Patankar

Faizan Patankar

I started Career Geek Blog in 2011 to share my experience in job-hunting. I now focus on careers industry and blogging is just a tool to share that info. Love hacking careers. During the day I focus on my hobby - Engineering.