Preparation Secrets & Tricks to Score the Perfect Interview - It's More Than Just Interview Questions and Answers!

Last updated 29 Sep 2015

Some of you may have gone through many interviews, and still wonder what are the things you did right or wrong. Well, it is not just you. Most interviewees and recruiters are reluctant and discouraged from giving back their feedback about the interview. So, you end up feeling lost. Whether if you got the job or not, you are still left with questions unanswered. Here are some of the things that the recruiters won’t tell you about what they are looking for during the interviews so you can prepare better this time!

The job market is still tough out there, and you probably want to step up your game in order to get your dream job. While having an impressive resume is definitely an advantage, it will not always get you the position you were hoping to get. Being prepared for the interview is really important. Most people prepare by taking notes on possible interview questions and answers. That is only one piece of the puzzle. If you want to get hired in this day’s age, read on!

interview questions and answers

Tips and Tricks on How to Dress to Impress!
Most times, numbers don’t lie. There are many studies over the years on things that have positive or negative impression for the interviewees. If you think you are only being evaluated on your skills and experiences, you are wrong! Before getting specific, here are the basic things that likely to leave good or bad impressions:

Male Candidates

Positive Impression Includes:
Negative Impression Includes
  • No tie (52%)
  • Chinos (50%)
  • Polo shirts (66%)
  • Jeans (82%)
  • T-Shirts (88%)
  • Leather jackets (70%)

Female Candidates

Positive Impression Includes:
Negative Impression Includes:
  • Long dangling jewelry (99%)
  • Big shoulder pads (97%)
  • Low necklines (95%)
  • Bare legs (94%)
  • Sport shoes or sneakers (91%)
  • Very short skirts (60%)
*Statistics based on

Now, let’s get specific on how to polish yourself up, depending on the different looks or style you are going for. If you don’t know what kind of corporate culture the place you are going to an interview for, do some research! One of the worst things you can do when going on the interview is not knowing about the company itself. One of the ways to find out is obviously reading about the company profile and their website. You can kind of get the idea of what the working environment is like. If that is not enough, and you want to really get the insights, then call them up! Ask the receptionist or the operator about the business culture, and if the attire rules are strict. Then should give you enough information to prepare and dress accordingly for the interview!

Formal / Conservative
If you are going to an interview at a law-firm or finance related companies, chances are you want to be arrive in a formal wear. You will really need to spend time preparing for the more conservative workplaces.

For men, get your suits straight to the dry cleaner. You will be surprised on how big of an impact it will make. Choose your very textbook suit. Stick to traditional and classic colors for your suit such as blues, blacks, and greys. The fit of your suit is also extremely important. A lot of the times, people have their “interview outfit” that has been in their wardrobe for years. Chances are, it might not fit right and out dated. Although you are not going for an interview at a fashion company, they will notice if your attire is out dated. Get something that will make you look really sharp and contemporary. Your shirt will need to be wrinkle-free and spot-free, as well as your suit and pants. You also want to get your shoe shined. And remember, black socks only! You really want everything from top to bottom to be spotless.

For female, just think classic and less colors. You want to keep your look very sophisticated and clean. A two piece navy, grey or black suit is probably your best option. Compliment it with a light colored cotton shirt or blouse. Do not wear anything that has a low neckline, strapless, or spaghetti straps under your jacket. The length of the skirt must be at least at knee-length. Short skirt is a big no-no! If you want to wear accessories, make sure to wear a pair of simple earring or a classic pearl necklace. Do not wear flashy or dangling accessories. Your shoes should be mid-heel and closed-toe. Avoid exposing your toe at all cost.
interview questions and answers

How to get this look?

Tops: White long sleeve shirt & Clean and modern black blazer
Bottom: Pencil skirt
Footwear: Mid length basic black heels
​Accessories: Leather briefcase & Pearl earrings

Business Casual
Most companies will say that their business culture requires business casual attire. Businesses such as a cool startup or a smaller company will mostly be more laid-back on what you wear. This is probably the most fun you can have when dressing up. You will have a lot of freedom when trying to stay “business casual.” But because it is kind of in between, it could be one of the trickiest looks. Most people end up looking too casual. But if all else fail, it’s better to look overdressed than under. What to keep in mind is to mix traditional business pieces with everyday clothing items that you would wear on your weekends.

For men, you can be looking to wear a vest and a tie. The trick is to roll up your sleeve a bit to fit the casual look. You could also be wearing a nice pair of slack and a button down without a tie. If you want to layer, grab a neutral blazer or something more casual and unconventional will add a nice touch too. Wear a leather pair of oxford or brogues to keep your look polish. Make sure to clean the shoes ahead of time!

interview questions and answers

How to get this look?

Tops: Longsleeve shirt & Basic cardigan
Bottom: Slim-fit trouser
Footwear: Leather brogues / leather boot
​Accessories: Knitted tie
As for female, there are a few basic tips you can follow to achieve the perfect business casual look. Avoid neon colors. Also, you want to avoid rhinestone pants. It will make you look unprofessional rather than casual. Although it is a casual look, you want your clothes to be clean, pressed and wrinkle free. You can wear a well pressed working pants with a nice blouse. If you are more of a dress person, then a mid-length black dress or shirt, with a cardigan to cover your shoulder and arms. Wear “powerful flats” or mid length heels. You want to be simple and elegant, instead of flashy. Do not wear sneakers to the interview, no matter how casual the company is.
interview questions and answers

How to get this look?

Tops: Long sleeve blouse & Blazer / cardigan
Bottom: Pencil skirt
Footwear: Mid length neutral heels
​Accessories: Sophisticated watch
Details that really matter..

Sometimes, little things can make huge differences. Here are some of the things to always keep in mind.
  • Choose either a leather purse of briefcase. You only want to carry one, not both.
  • Nails must always be clean. For women, nails should be manicured with a neutral polish only.
  • Makeup should be kept to minimal. You want to look natural, which will show that you care about your “professional image” rather than being “perfect” all the time.
  • Hair should NEVER be wet. Make sure to always blow dry your hair with a hair dryer.
  • Men should never wear jewelry other than a wedding band or ring, and a conservative watch.
  • Do not wear strong perfume or use body products that are heavily scented.
  • Always arrive with hair well-groomed and away from your face. Messy hair will make you look unprofessional right away.
  • Keep your phones out of sight. If possible, shut it off. Do not just let it vibrate. It will be distracting regardless.
  • Wearing sunglasses as a headband is definitely a big no-no!
  • Cleaned and polished shoes will always win.

7 Things the interviewees notice

Other than your resume, they also focus on other elements about you. Here are the 7 main things that the recruiters look out for!

  1. They really notice your timing.
Being late to an interview for no matter how legitimate the reason is, you are still late. It will undoubtedly set a bad tone, and will strongly have an influence on the decision making for the recruiters. Check everything ahead of time. Things that can go wrong can likely go wrong at the most important time. Check traffic, weather, your car or motorcycle, documents, portfolios, laptop (in case you need to show your work), and your attire.
Being on time is not the only thing. Answering questions in a timely manner is also important. By responding quickly, it will show that you are prepared and confidence.

  1. They can smell you.
Obviously, the main focus during the interviews are your past experiences and skills that you can bring to the table. But just like anything, they are interested in the whole package, and the impression they had with you during the interview. If you smell unpleasant, you can probably say goodbye to your opportunity. Although employers want to hire skilled candidates, they need somebody who will be able to represent the company well. Being stinky is probably not one of them.
However, this does not mean that you need to shower yourself with perfume. Wearing too much perfume can be a big turn off at a job interview. Why? It is because it can be distracting. You never know if the interviewee has allergies towards a certain scent!
  1. They want to see confidence, not cockiness.
Yes, they are obviously interested in you. That’s why they scheduled an interview with you. However, this does not mean you should not be humble. You want to showcase your skill, but do it with manners. Also, if you have other job offers, it is not a good idea to bring it up if they did not ask. It raises red flags and makes you look unprofessional, rather than an appealing candidate.
  1. They want to see that you are also a great listener too.
Although speaking is obviously very important during an interview, your ability to listen is also a big part of it. Your listening skill will reflect your ability to answer questions. By listening and actively looking at the interviewee, you will be able to catch verbal and non-verbal cues that will help you answer better!
  1. They want to see that you are consistent.
There is a fine line between polishing up your resume and making things up. You should know everything on your resume like the back of your hands. If you are unable to answer questions when asked about your experiences, you will most likely to not get the job. Stumbling when answering those questions can also make them think that you lied about your experiences.
  1. They noticed your social media profile.
In today’s age, I can bet you that recruiters have looked at your social media profile pictures and posts before they even read your resume. Pictures of you getting drunk at a party can definitely hurt you. So, you want to behave online as much as possible so that it will not damage your chance on landing the job.
  1. They want to see that you are dressed for the interview.
They will probably notice what you wear to the interview before they can notice anything else. They want to see that you will be a good fit for the company, and that you can represent them well. Depending on the field of work you are going for an interview for, the attire you choose can vary. You want to be overdressed and underdress. They won’t notice when you overdress, but are more likely to notice if you are underdressed.
As you can see, there are different ways for you to prepare for the interview. One of the biggest impact you can make during the interview, is how you dress for it. Of course, your skills and resume is more important, but without the complete package, you will less likely to make a lasting impression. Regardless of what you choose to wear, always wear something that is polished and comfortable that will ultimately make you feel confident. So, we hope that you have a better idea on the things that recruiters really look for, other than your skills in handling interview questions and answers!

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