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An interview not merely involves judging a person on the basis of his or her ideas and outlook towards a subject. In fact, outer appearance or visual impression also plays a significant role. The way you appear leaves a deep impact on others, especially the ones who judge you both subjectively as well as objectively. Half the battle is won if you tend to impress the interviewer on your first meeting. It is wisely said, “The first impression is the last impression.” Your outer appearance would comprise the following:
  • Clothes
  • Hairstyle
  • Facial expressions
  • The way you walk and enter the interview hall
  • The way you sit before the interviewer                                
  • The way you turn back and leave the interview hall
This is well supported by a famous Russian proverb, “When you meet a man, you judge him by his clothes; when you leave, you judge him by his heart.”
The famous psychologist Sigmund Freud had emphasized the importance of appearance by saying, “Try to look as you want to be.” A good appearance that pleases you before a mirror is likely to please all those who look at you, that is, as long as you are not an unduly vain person!
Are you convinced that you can’t be faulted on any of the above-mentioned factors? Do you leave behind a lasting impression on the interviewer? If not, given below are some vital hints on each factor that can make all the difference between acceptance and rejection. And you don’t get a second chance to make the first impression.

You’re Clothes

  • Your dress should be well tailored and not out-dated. This does not mean that it should be very fashionable.
  • Your dress/suit should be in keeping with present fashion trends so that your appearance does not seem to be conspicuous in any way.
  • Avoid gaudy colours or strident combinations as these do not in any way help to improve your looks.
  • Clean and well-ironed clothes are far more important.
  • Some people prefer to wear a new dress for an interview. If it is not a good fit, it could make you restless and irritable.
  • Most girls who wear saris for the first time for an interview often find themselves ill-at-ease as they worry and fidget about their pallu.
  • Do not wear casual clothes, especially jeans.
  • Do not carry unnecessary diaries, pads, too many pens, a heavy purse, etc., for these only make your pockets bulge and add to your feeling of uneasiness.
  • While it is wise to be economical, try to buy the best clothes you can, that are simple as well as well tailored. A wise man has said, “Eat what you like but wear what others like.”
For the purpose of interviews, it is not necessary that you go in for expensive clothes, especially if you cannot afford them. I have come across several IAS toppers and many others who appeared before the interview board dressed in ordinary cotton shirts and trousers instead of formal suits. Your dress should match your body frame and be well tailored to give you a presentable appearance. You must be neatly and soberly dressed. If you are sloppily dressed or cannot be bothered to dress properly for an interview, then you are, in a way, insulting the interviewer or the board members.




Wouldn’t it be better, therefore, to wear clothes you have worn in the past, and found comfortable to walk and sit in? This will help you avoid “dress-consciousness” which leaves an unfavourable impression on the interviewer. You must ensure that your shirt and trousers are properly buttoned up.


Remember, a smart and neat appearance increases your chances of being successful. You know the proverb, “While in Rome, do as the Romans do,” which means, wear a dress that is in harmony with your surroundings, gives you an impressive appearance and also makes you feel comfortable.

  • Pay equal attention to your shoes. They should look clean and well-polished.
  • Do not wear a new pair of shoes to an interview as you may not feel at ease walking into the interview room in squeaky new shoes.
  • In case the new shoes are tight, you will feel uncomfortable during the whole course of the interview that will, in turn, divert your attention from important points.
  • Lastly, if possible, wear a tie that matches with your shirt and suit. Never wear a suit without a tie.
Some of you may point out that job-seekers generally cannot afford a tie and suit and have mostly simple clothing. True as this may be, but for certain jobs such as careers in sales/marketing and in blue-chip companies, it is essential to be well-dressed.
If an interviewer happens to appreciate your dress (or tie), do not hesitate to thank him immediately. You should not become nervous when you are asked odd questions concerning, say, the colour of your shirt, or tie or trousers. Such questions are sometimes put to judge the mental make-up of the candidate.

You’re Hairstyle

Before entering the interview hall, you should see that your hair is neatly combed. It is always better to keep a pocket comb. A haircut just before the interview should be, as far as possible, avoided. It changes the appearance of the face for some time and can make you feel edgy and uncomfortable. Boys should be well-shaven in order to project a healthy look.
If you wear a turban, ensure it is clean and properly tied. Also, ensure that the colour of your turban matches that of the dress you are wearing.
For girls, it is recommended that they carry a small comb in their purse and tidy their hair before entering the interview hall. These are very small details but they have a vital impact on the interviewer.
Questions Related to Dress
Mr Saxena, you look smart in this dress.
Thank you, sir.
(Your reply should be immediate and without any feeling of shyness or nervous­ness.)
Did you purchase this tie for the present interview?
No, sir. I bought it last year. It looks new because I have seldom worn it.
Board Member
Mr Saxena, your shirt also looks very smart, especially with the matching pair of trousers you are wearing.
Thank you, sir. I am very careful in making sure that I always wear proper combina­tions.

Note: You will note that Mr Saxena has done above average in this particular part of the interview as his answers were instantaneous and he did not show any apparent nervousness. While replying to such personal questions, he still felt “at home” and comfortable.

Your Facial Expressions

Your facial expressions reflect a lot about you. So, be cheerful when you enter the interview hall and ask politely, “May I come in please?”
Be pleasant in your manner and smile while wishing the members of the interview board. This attitude presents you as a confident person and shows your relaxed attitude. It establishes a good rapport with the board. If your expressions are serious then the proceedings will be tense for you as well as for the board. Dale Carnegie has rightly pointed out that employers prefer to hire the services of a less qualified sales girl if she has a lovely smile than to hire a highly qualified person with a long and sober face.
But here too there is word of caution, don’t carry your smile throughout the interview. Your expressions should be ­congruent with the proceedings. You could be taken for an idiot if you ­continue to smile when the question you are asked is of a serious nature. You are advised to match your expressions with that of the board ­members. It gives an impression that you and the interview board have a ­consensus regarding an issue. It reflects that your view point is acceptable to the interviewer(s). This mutual rapport and ­understanding can help you get through the interview.

You’re Way of Entering the Interview Hall

As you are shown the door of the interview hall, thank the person who has guided you towards the room. If you enter the room on your own, close the door behind you with one hand without turning your back towards the interview board. Smile, take your time in walking over towards the table of the interview committee and say in a firm voice, “Good morning, sirs/gentlemen” (as the time may be). Do not sit down until you are asked to do so. Though these are little things, they are important if you want to make a good impression. These techniques could be practised before the interview in your free time.

You’re Way of Walking

The way you walk and carry yourself also adds to your appearance. “Dashing forward” with an upright military bearing is the perfect way to walk. This would depict boldness, fearlessness and ambition to rise in life. One can psychologically analyse your personality and character by the way you walk. Practising this technique before the interview proves to be beneficial for the aspirant.
An example here will illustrate what I mean by “dashing-forward walking” and “upright military bearing”.

(Dressed smartly, the candidate reaches the door of the interview hall)
(Puts her right foot forward and says) May I come in please?
Yes, please come in Ms Singh.
[The moment the candidate hears the words “come in” she walks in immediately with a quick stride that exhibits her confidence and says “Good morning to you, sirs” or “Good afternoon to you, sirs” (as the time may be) with a pleasant smile on her face.]

Note: When asked to enter, a candidate should not pause or walk slowly. Slow action at this stage will not exhibit the candidate’s ­dynamism.

Good morning, Ms Singh. Please be seated.
Thank you, sir.

Note: The candidate should not pause when asked to sit but quickly take a seat with a smile and exhibit self-confidence.


Therefore, while entering the hall, you should combine sobriety and dignity and your face should have a pleasing smile depicting your confidence. The moment you enter, you should be able to win over the interviewers sitting before you in such a ­manner that they sit up and take note of your personality. Cultivate the habit of walking briskly, pulling up your shoulders, holding your head straight and looking ahead. Take firm and decisive steps while you walk. This ­indicates both your confidence and your ambition.

You’re Way of Sitting

When you are asked by the chairman to take your seat, pull the chair towards you. Do not sit facing the interviewer directly. You should pull the chair at an angle and sit keeping a distance of about one ­metre from the interviewer’s desk. Avoid touching or leaning on the interviewer’s desk. Sit back comfortably in a relaxed way. ­Drooping or sprawling into your chair leaves a bad impression on the ­interviewer.
Changing positions repeatedly should be avoided. This shows your uneasiness, lack of self-confidence and nervousness.


Others might also judge your personality in terms of your ­posture. A poor posture would easily reflect your inferiority complex even ­during a snap or spontaneous judgment. Therefore, sit erect and ­occupy the complete seat of the chair. Avoid sitting on the edge of the seat. It is a wrong notion that sitting in this posture is a way to show respect to the interviewer. A candidate sitting just on the edge with a shy look and downcast eyes cannot ­impress interviewers, no matter how highly qualified and competent he or she may be. In this posture you cannot possibly hope to ­generate a rapport with the authorities sitting before you and succeed in the interview. Poor ­sitting posture, in psychological terms, shows dependency, ­inferiority and lack of self-confidence. Feel relaxed while sitting before the ­interview board. You are not their ­employee yet. So, air your views during the discussion freely and confidently.
Practise these above-mentioned points beforehand. Your first ­impression should be noteworthy. The majority of candidates are ­rejected during the first minute of the interview. ­Remember the truth behind the old saying, “The first impression is the last impression.”
The above discussion has been put in a condensed manner for your ready reference. Take careful note of the following points once again and practise them beforehand if you want to succeed.
  • Sit erect, comfortably occupying the full seat of the chair and keep a pleasing smile on your face.
  • Remember to look at the chairman and other members of the interview board. Do not feel shy. Do not look at a particular member or the chairman all the time.
  • Do not cross your legs but keep your feet firmly on the floor, keeping your right foot slightly ahead of the left. This gives you more support and self-confidence.
  • Take a confident look at all the members sitting before you in the interview board.
  • Let the members do the initial talking.
  • Do not fiddle with things, on the table of the interviewer, the file in your hands or the buttons on your shirt. Sit still without making odd motions, but at the same time show your eagerness and desire to be questioned.
  • Do not change your positions frequently in the chair as it shows that you are not at ease.
  • Face the interviewers as equals and do not suffer any indignities. Remember that the interviewer’s job is to find a suitable candidate to fill a vacancy. You have to help him to find in you the qualities he is looking for.

Your Way of Leaving the Interview Hall

A good personality is required not only during the interview. In fact your personality is judged even when you leave the hall. When the interview ends, the way you get up and move out of that place is also an indicator of your personality. Your personality should be such that it conveys a feeling of assurance and self-confidence. Even if you could not create a good impression while entering the room, you still have a chance to make up for that. Your way of turning back and leaving the room can completely alter the initial impression that you left on the interviewers. So every second of the interview counts- be it the beginning or the end.
Walk out confidently leaving behind an impression of alert self-­assurance. While you are leaving, maintain the same energetic posture with which you had entered the room.
Here are certain things that need to be taken care of :
  • When the interview ends and the chairman asks you to leave, get up and thank all the members present.
  • If the chairman extends his hand, shake hands firmly and with confidence. A firm handshake shows your confidence.
  • Calmly leave the chair and put it back in its proper place. Be upright as you turn to leave.
  • While leaving the room, do not look back. Continue walking confidently, and close the door.
If you are not careful at this stage then it can have an adverse effect on your overall performance.
Practise these little details beforehand. Have mock interviews in your classroom or at home with your friends and try to cultivate the right way of walking, sitting and leaving the room as suggested above.

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