Interview presentation - what does that mean?

  • 23-02-24
  • Chloe Weldon

A well-written cover letter, a resume with plenty of relevant experience, and a glowing reference are all necessary when you're applying for jobs, but they're far from everything you’ll need to really impress your interviewer.

How you present is what will help set you apart from the other candidates. From the way that you dress, your body language, and the way you carry yourself. Presenting yourself professionally and appropriately will ensure that you make a great first impression and will help you feel more confident.

Here are some key tips on presenting yourself during an interview that is sure to give you a leg up on your job search:

Dressing for success

First, you need to look the part. It’s not news to us that office standards have relaxed significantly post-covid, but that doesn’t mean that you can get away with wearing your work-from-home clothes to a job interview.

Dressing to the right level will boost your confidence going into the interview – whether it is in person or over video. You want to show your potential employer that you care about the opportunity and understand the business, whilst putting your best foot forward.

One of the worst things you can do is wait until the day of your interview to get everything sorted, especially if you haven’t worn a suit to work in years. Instead of leaving it to chance, be prepared! Try on your outfit several days in advance. That way, if you need to buy a new outfit, hit the dry cleaners, or get a haircut, you have plenty of time to do so.

  • Dress for the job and the company. In other words, if you are interviewing for a senior or executive level role within an Insurance Company - a suit (and most likely a tie), or a blouse and trousers/skirt will see you presented in a professional manner. If you’re interviewing for a Media Agency who usually wear jeans and sneakers, perhaps a full suit and tie would be deemed ‘overkill’.
  • Unless you are interviewing for an ultra-conservative environment, colours don’t matter so long as they are complementary. A ‘creative’ organisation will view your attire as a sign of your personality, but that is not an excuse to wear your ‘loudest’ outfit – it still has to be professional.
  • If your interview is through an agency such as Richard Lloyd Recruitment, we will always give you pointers on what to wear based on the company environment.
  • Make sure your shoes are comfortable, clean, and polished. This is a sign that you have good attention to detail as these are little things that can be overlooked.
  • Neat, tidy, and washed hair is a given, as is a neatly trimmed beard or cleanly shaven face.
  • It may seem like an obvious point, but hygiene is critical when it comes to meeting the hiring manager face-to-face. It is generally in an enclosed meeting room, so don’t overdo the perfume or aftershave, and if you have had to rush to get there on a summer’s day, ensure you have some deodorant handy just in case.
  • Nowadays it is to be expected that people have piercings and wear jewellery, but with that in mind think about what type of business you are interviewing for when choosing jewellery. If it is an ultra-conservative firm, they may only find earlobe piercings appropriate; compared to the music company which does not mind.
  • For interviews that are taking place online, our advice above should be no different. You still need to make a good first impression and even more so when it is virtually – even if they can only see your top half, it is best to play it safe and follow the same rules!!

Nailing the first impressions

Your first impression has a lot of say in whether you’re your relationship will be five minutes, lifelong or somewhere in between. 

The way that you present yourself, your posture, the way and tone with which you talk to people, the way you shake hands, and even what you do when you are waiting to be seen are all important!

Another huge contributing factor to your first impression is whether you’re on time for an interview. Punctuality shows courtesy and enthusiasm, and if the choice is down to you or an equally qualified candidate who showed up 15 minutes late to their interview, the decision becomes much easier.

This goes the same for online interviews – if you are struggling to log into the room and you turn up 5 minutes late and flustered, or you’re daydreaming when the interviewer logs on it does not garner the best first impression.

Why leave your first impression in a job interview up to chance.

Leave for the interview earlier than you think you should even if there’s only the remote possibility that traffic could be bad, or you get lost at the last minute. You can always find a coffee shop nearby to calm your nerves and while away the time to look over your interview notes. The last thing you need is to arrive flustered and sweating because you are running late.

If it’s online, test out the link beforehand. Try logging on 5 or 10 minutes before the interview to ensure your camera works, your sound works, and the lighting looks good. You don’t want to be panicking at 5 minutes past when your microphone has decided not to work all of a sudden!

Follow your interviewer’s lead with respect to their introduction. Handshakes are pretty much commonplace again when interviewing in person. If they log on to the video call and wave, wave back!

In all instances, remember to smile and remember to make eye contact (as much as you naturally can). If you have multiple interviewers, address the one asking you the questions but remember to look at and engage with the others as well.

When they say their name, repeat it back to them so you don’t forget it i.e. “Nice to meet you Frank, thanks for taking the time to meet with me”, and be sure to provide your name after.

Improving your body language

Body language is also extremely important in the way you present yourself and communicate with others. Some body language tips are no-brainers, such as no chewing gum or staring out of the window, but others can be a little less obvious.

For starters, make sure you smile often. Smile when you meet people. Smile through your answers and smile when you say goodbye. This shows enthusiasm and will make you seem friendly - like someone they may like to have as a colleague.

When you take a seat, make it a point to sit facing your interviewers and sit up straight, but try to be comfortable too. Avoid bobbing your knee, tapping a pen, and biting your fingernails as fidgeting tends to give off anxious vibes. Stay as calm and collected as you can. 
A few other tips would include not putting your elbows on the table or crossing your arms. These types of body language can be perceived as quite negative or “closed off”. Putting your hands in your lap can work well, or if you are the sort of person who “talks with their hands” you can place them together on the table giving you a more natural place to gesture from.

Furthermore, look your interviewers in the eye when you are speaking with them. Try not to glance around when talking as this can often question your integrity and truthfulness. Obviously, staring without blinking is not the answer either.


The way you present and carry yourself sets the tone for the entire interview whether it is in person or online. By making slight changes, and being conscious of your body language, attire and tone and how you may need to adjust it you are almost guaranteed to making a lasting and more importantly a positive impression.

​If you're seeking career opportunities in the accounting field, contact the experts at Richard Lloyd to find out how we can help.

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