Effective personal presentation in job interviews



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Purpose. This study was initiated to determine whether there was a preference in attire, color choice, and hairstyle by personnel representatives for the man and woman seeking a mid-management or higher level position that involved public interaction. The information collected should provide the interviewee an advantage during the interview. Procedures. The subjects of this study were 430 male and female personnel representatives, members of the Houston Personnel Association. A questionnaire including illustrations of attire, color, and hairstyle (five illustrations in each area) as well as five demographic questions was constructed. Respondents were to rank order from one to five (one being the most preferred choice) the illustrations for the businesswoman and the businessman. Demographic questions consisted of three about the firm (type, location, and size) and two about the respondent (age range and sex). Data were collected and summarized by frequencies of responses for each attire, color, and hairstyle option. Further analyses were conducted through chi square tests for independence between attire, color, and hairstyle and the demographic data. Summary of the Findings and Conclusions. Based on the data gathered for attire, the skirted suit is recommended for the woman in an interview. The dress (solid, long sleeved), the pantsuit, the dress (bold pattern, sleeveless), and the slacks with blouse were second, third, fourth, and fifth choices by the respondents. The businessman's data revealed the three-piece, vested suit as recommended interview attire for the man. The blazer with tie, the shirt/tie/slacks, the shirt with slacks, and the leather jacket with turtleneck sweater were rated second, third, fourth, and fifth respectively by the respondents. Data regarding hairstyle for the woman and man indicated the following: (1) For the businesswoman the short curly style was the preferred style to be worn to the interview, the short straight style was second, the shoulder length (moderate curl) third, the long straight style fourth, and the shoulder length (curly) style fifth. (2) For the businessman the style with hair slightly covering the ear was the preferred style for the interview while the style with hair totally above the ear was second, the style with hair covering the ear and a mustache as facial hair was third, the style with hair totally covering the ear was fourth, and the style with hair covering the ear and a beard was fifth. Respondents indicated color choices for the woman and man in this way: The most preferred color for the businesswoman was navy blue for interview attire; other colors such as medium gray, dark green, pastel pink, and bright yellow were second, third, fourth, and fifth respectively by respondents. The most preferred color for the businessman was also navy blue for interview attire; other colors such as medium gray, dark brown, beige, and light blue were second, third, fourth, and fifth choices respectively by the respondents. Chi square tests performed on the demographic data revealed: (1) No relationship was found among attire preferences for the businesswoman or businessman by the respondents. (2) Analysis of hairstyle data revealed no relationship between businessman's hairstyle options and any of the demographic variables; however, data for the businesswoman did show a relationship between type of firm and the short straight style. Also a relationship was found between sex and certain hairstyle options for the businesswoman. (3) Analysis of color revealed no relationships between the demographic variables and preferences for the businessman's color choices. Sex of the respondent was the only variable that revealed any relationship with color for the businesswoman.



Employment interviewing