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  • David Still

Job Interview & Personal Presentation

Updated: Jan 30, 2022

It is now 2021. The rules - both spoken and unspoken - that dictate how we interact professionally are different than they were 15 years ago, certainly much different than they were 30 years ago.

Casual Professional Environments

Things these days are much more casual than they were in the past. In fact, so much so that many very professional work environments embrace permanent dress codes that were once only reserved for casual Fridays, say, 15 or 20 years ago. And way back beyond that? Well, you know what it was like. And if you aren’t old enough? Go Google it.

I think most would agree that the trend towards things becoming more casual is a good thing. I certainly think so. Having said this, it is still worth noting that how one carries and presents themselves matters, especially in a professional work environment. The rules have become much more casual but that does not mean they have completely dissipated in the wind.

Current Professional Standards

There is just no way around it, human beings like to make distinctions and judgments. This you can count on. So, you will be judged and will be held to account for the impression(s) you make, irrespective of whether you feel they have proper merit.

Listed below are some gentle reminders for some of our more casual brethren that want to leave all formality in the rearview mirror forever. I like where your heart is at, but we all need our heads as well. Freebirds, please remember these basics when presenting yourself in a professional environment, especially in, say, a job interview.

Job Interview Fundamentals

1. Comb your hair. Unless you have a shaved head, do not lose your comb. Question this at your own peril.

2. Eliminate ums and ahs from your speech. And do not say things like, “You know what I mean.” And please never say things like “or whatever.”

3. Do pause slightly before speaking. The most important reason is to do some actual thinking before speaking. Others will also appreciate that it appears that you are genuinely thinking through their question and not simply spitting out a response to get on to the next question.

4. Body Language: If you want to leave a good impression, your body language is something you will want to give some thought to. We will not go through all the pointers, but you will want to make solid eye contact, have strong positive energy, and – yes – have good posture.

5. Physical Appearance: As noted earlier, present times are more casual but there are still expectations, so please take some time to understand what is expected for the role and industry you are working in relative to dress code etc.

6. Punctuality is key whether the interview is in person or virtual via Zoom. The virtual aspect sometimes lulls folks into thinking they can let their guard down a little but please do not do this. Treat virtual interviews just like traditional in-person interviews.

7. Preparation: Understand the nature and scope of your meeting. Prepare accordingly. Those who come across as unprepared guarantee themselves a poor outcome.

Stay safe in 2021 and good luck with your next interview.

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