Skyrocket Your Interview Success by Caring About Your Appearance

job interview appearance

It might be hard for us to accept, but we all make split-second decisions about the people we meet based upon their appearance.

It’s in our DNA for us to quickly identify if that person seems like a threat, what kind of personality they have and if they are part of our tribe. This ancient thinking still rules our subconscious and that’s why it’s so important that you optimize your appearance when going for interviews.

How Can we use this Knowledge to our Advantage?

This shouldn’t be disheartening. Even if you don’t like the way you look, there is a lot you can do to improve the message that your appearance sends to the interviewer.

But mostly, it’s not as much to do with your facial features or your body weight, it’s about the assumptions the interviewer makes when they look at your clothes and your grooming.

Is your tie crooked? Is your shirt untucked? Did you shave? Have you brushed your hair?

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This might seem juvenile, but if someone can’t dress themselves properly then how do you expect the interviewer to believe that you’re capable of running a part of their sports operation.

Now to the good news, most people don’t understand this and that’s why they don’t prepare their appearance as well as they should. This means that the competition is weak and you don’t have to do a lot to stand out and impress the interviewer.

Rule #1: Dress Smarter Than You’re Told

This tip has helped me out in countless interviews, meetings and consultations, and it’s very simple.


 The truth of the matter is that it’s very hard for you to overdress to the point that it becomes uncomfortable. Unless every other person is in tracksuits and you’re in a suit, it won’t feel uncomfortable, you’ll just look far more professional.

 The best advice is to ask the interviewer what the dress code is for the interview and then dress to the upper limit of that code.

For example; if the dress code is smart casual then you could get away with wearing jeans and a shirt. But every other candidate will probably do the same. Instead, dress to the upper limit of smart casual and wear dress pants with a shirt instead.

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This small difference shows more professionalism, it suggests that you mean business and it helps to set you apart from the crowds of other applicants.

Rule #2: Be Particular About the Small Details

As a younger man my uncle told me that life was about the small details, the same advice is true for making an excellent first impression.

If the rest of your appearance is perfect but your tie is crooked, the interviewer will notice, I guarantee it.

In fact, it’s almost easier to notice and mistake against a backdrop of perfection.

Caring about the small details of your appearance suggests to the interviewer that the candidate is the type of person who will care about the small details of their sports business. It suggests that they won’t let a piece of work be ‘good enough’, they’ll work on it until it’s perfect.

Let me break out a few secrets from the world of fashion that you can use to improve the small details and complete your look. If you’re wearing a tie, learn how to put a dimple into the middle of the tie.

This helps to give it a three-dimensional look, rather than making it look like you stole your fathers tie.

 If you’ve styled you hair in a way that fights against its natural style i.e. gelled upwards, use a small amount of hairspray and then blow-dry it on a cold setting until it’s hard. This will prevent your hair from falling down in the interview and will keep you looking pristine.

Untucked shirts are a huge problem at interviews because you’re often standing up and sitting down over and over. To fix this, buy a quality pair of shirt-stays that will keep your shirt tight and professional at all times.

For both men and women, take it easy on the perfume.

When you’re out with your friends at a bar you might get away with a few sprays of your cologne but in a closed room environment, keep it to one or two sprays. Finally, limit the amount of jewelry you wear to interviews to an absolute minimum.

Rule #3: Groom Yourself Before the Interview

Over the past few years we’ve seen overgrown beards make a comeback, even in more professional jobs, but those people can get away with it because they already have the job.

You don’t get that same privilege when you’re going for an interview.

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Shave on the morning of the interview with an electric shaver, this helps to prevent any cuts that can really ruin all the effort that you’ve put into your appearance. I love a beard or stubble just as much as the next man, but certain environments aren’t suited to facial hair and the interview room is definitely one of them.

Finally, make sure that you’ve trimmed your fingernails.

Having talked to countless interviewers, I’ve heard horror stories of candidates with gross fingernails who were looked over because of it.

The small things can make a huge difference when candidates have little to separate them and so, trimming your nails, removing that monobrow and getting a haircut might just be the difference between you getting the job and you failing.


Whilst it can appear superficial, someones appearance says a lot about them.

The added benefit of putting the time and effort into your appearance is that you’ll feel amazing and that confidence will shine through in your interview.

 So, the next time that you go to an interview keep these tips in mind. Take a look around you at the other candidates and notice how they’ve presented themselves.

Feeling a bit more confident now?

By Jack Prenter | June 05, 2017
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