If you’re about to step into a job interview, then don’t read this. If you’re planning a move, enjoy the first in our series of how best to prepare for that pathway to a successful career
The key to a successful career is very often looking the part – and that begins with the first few steps into the room where that all-essential job interview takes place.
However nervous we might feel, first impressions DO count and a confident smile is key – indeed, there are many studies and surveys to support this.
One study found that a whiter smile can have a major effect on meaningful personal interactions – both in the social and professional world – suggesting that it can have a big impact on how other people consider you when you first meet.
In a series of simulated job interviews, the study showed that 58% of the mock interviewees who’d had their teeth whitened were more likely to be offered a job, with 53% given larger salaries.
They were also viewed as more professional (65%) and more confident (61%) after whitening their teeth.
Another poll also recently revealed that 77% of Brits rated terrible teeth and bad breath as big a drawback in the job-hunting stakes as scruffiness.
Dentist Henrik Overgaard-Nielsen commented at the time: ‘In a competitive jobs market, people are realising that bad teeth mean bad prospects. This new evidence is a stark reminder that a winning smile isn’t just for fans of selfies, it’s for anyone who wants to get on in life.’
And only this week, a poll suggests that our reluctance to smile may be having an effect on the economy.
The research, conducted by the airline, Monarch, reveals that service with a smile could increase UK consumer spending by £64.6 billion a year, according to new research.
The survey found that while on average we’re spending £142.91 each week in shops and restaurants –we’d be shelling out almost £20 more if we regularly received a more attentive, smiley and friendly service.
So, what should be thinking about ahead of that interview?
Be prepared – this goes a long way to reducing anxiety on the day and boosting your confidence. Have one or two questions to hand but keep them brief and make sure they are sincere and relevant. Do your research – it may sound funny, but forgetting the name of the company or the person interviewing is easy to do when the nerves get the better of us!
Need to upload a photo of yourself for the job application? Consultant plastic surgeon Marc Pacifico warns that selfies can be unrealistic, because of the distortion of faces. He says: ‘Often there is a “fish-eye” distortion if taken too close. More and more clients are coming to consultations armed with selfies as evidence that they “need” surgery.’ Ask a friend to take a photo and use it for your social media profiles, too. It’s as important to look professional online as it is off.
If first impressions are everything, then do think about what you are going to be wearing – you need to feel comfortable as well as look professional. Invest in a smart outfit to boost your confidence.
4. Hair and accessories
Hair is important. If you have long hair, then keep it off your face – you don’t want to be fidgeting throughout the interview. Likewise with any accessories. Try to keep these to the minimum and avoid any that make a noise when you move. Very distracting!
Keep it firm and friendly and try to avoid getting clammy hands, however nervous you might be. Also, nobody likes no ‘spaghetti hands and don’t break interviewer’s hand. Make Eye contact shows you are trustworthy and confident and show that smile.
If you wear cologne, aftershave or perfume, be sure it’s not too overpowering. It’s good to smell nice but can be off-putting for others if they all they can focus on is your scent rather than what you have to say.
Don’t sweat the small stuff. If you have a break out of pimples on the day or feel your hair doesn’t sit right, don’t fret. Chances are that person across the desk isn’t going to notice – and may also be having a bad hair day! We all lose confidence from time to time but a job interview is one of those times we need to stay calm and concentrate. Try some breathing exercises or mindfulness. There are a number of smartphone apps to help you focus.
And, possibly, the most important thing is your smile – using it shows that you’re trustworthy and confident. Many of us might be confident in others ways but not so in that grin – so why not make it the best version possible with some cosmetic dental TLC.
Mel Prebble is a dental hygienist and therapist and our oral health expert. She says: ‘Fresh breath and great hygiene will add a spring to your step as you walk through the door. If your teeth need whitening, then make sure you have this a few weeks before that interview. And if you haven’t time to book an appointment, then air polish is good, too. It’s an innovative technique that effectively cleans and polishes the teeth and is particularly beneficial for removing stubborn stains, such as coffee, tea, smoking and red wine.’
Dev Patel is principle dentist and co-founder of Dental Beauty in Swanley, Kent.
He says: ‘As well as looking smart, saying the right things confidently and having positive body language, a smile is another important element to show you are professional, approachable and friendly.
‘There are many things you can do to ensure you have a confident smile. A good oral hygiene routine is essential to ensure you have clean teeth and fresh breath. Brush at least twice a day and maintain gum health with the use of floss and interdental brushes. If you are unsure of an effective way to do this, ask your dentist who will be able to educate you on the best techniques.
‘Tooth whitening is another fantastic way to give your smile and your confidence a boost. White Dental Beauty is a trusted brand that gives safe and effective results. There is a range of strengths available to choose from to suit different patients’ needs. Some can be worn overnight and some can be worn for as little as half an hour a day. I generally use 16% Carbamide Peroxide, which can be worn for as little as three hours a day. The whitening gels all contain a built in de-sensitiser and there is also a special gel for patients who are normally too sensitive to whiten. Whitening should always be carried out by a dentist, who will make an assessment on your oral health before prescribing a suitable whitening treatment.’
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