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Halliday Marx Visions

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Congratulations, you’ve secured an interview. At Halliday Marx, this means we’ve carefully matched your skills, experience and personality against everything required to excel in the new role. However, there is still a great deal to consider if you want to make sure you really impress your potential employer. You now need to focus on making a winning first impression at the interview.

The way you dress, your body language and the way you carry yourself are all important elements that will set you apart from other candidates. This is why working with a skilled recruitment and search firm such as Halliday Marx is imperative in ensuring you present yourself in the best possible way – and feel confident during your interview.

To get you started, here are some of our top tips for creating a great first impression:

Understand the dress code

Regardless of office dress codes moving towards a more casual style, an interview typically calls for you to wear professional attire. Looking and feeling smart during the interview will boost your confidence and show your potential employer that the opportunity is really important to you.

Dress codes can vary tremendously depending on the client, but a specialist, intelligent recruiter, like Halliday Marx, will appreciate these finer details and be in a position to provide advice on what to wear to each interview.

“We spend a great deal of time supporting candidates with what is expected of them in interview and that includes dress code. Getting this right will not only make for a great first impression, but it will ensure the candidate feels relaxed and confident. Dress codes can also vary hugely depending on the company they are interviewing with, but again, this all comes down to working with a seasoned recruiter who understands their client’s expectations”, added John Marx, Co-Founder Halliday Marx.

It may seem obvious, but a few simple considerations will go a long way in ensuring you are dressed for success:

  • Keep things subtle. You need the interviewer to spend time listening to you – not being distracted by your choice of outfit. Colours typically won’t matter so long as they are complementary. If you are interviewing with one of our ‘creative’ clients, your attire might be viewed as a sign of your personality – but that is not an excuse to wear your ‘loudest’ outfit.  Keep it professional!
  • Make sure your shoes are comfortable, clean and polished. This is a sign that you have good attention to detail.
  • Interviews generally take place in an enclosed meeting room, so don’t overdo the perfume or aftershave.
  • Don’t go overboard on the jewellery – this can be distracting.
  • Follow the same rules for online interviews. If your interview is likely to be virtual, we recommend you take a look at our tips on ‘Advice for a Successful Remote Interview’. You still need to make a good first impression – and even more so when it is virtually.

No excuse for lateness

Don’t be late. Punctuality shows respect and enthusiasm. Arriving late also suggests that you don’t pay attention to important details. As a rule of thumb, arriving 10 minutes early will give you enough time to calm any nerves, run through any questions you’ve prepared and recap on any answers you think you may give.

We also recommend candidates allow extra time for traveling to the interview if there is any possibility of tube, rail and traffic issues or getting lost at the last minute, this could result in you arriving feeling flustered and stressed.

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 is why, at Halliday Marx, our consultants will ensure candidates have all the correct details regarding location, time and if applicable, how to access the building. We don’t leave anything to chance.


When you arrive and meet your interviewer, follow their lead with respect to their introduction. If you do shake hands, smile, keep it firm and ensure eye contact.  Avoid an aggressive grip. If you have more than one person interviewing you, make sure you follow the same procedure for each interviewer.

If a handshake isn’t an option (due to current Covid restrictions),  you might like to use the ‘Covid elbow bump’. As said before, follow the interviewers lead on this.

When your interviewer offers their name, repeat it back to them so you don’t forget it, and be sure to provide your name immediately after.

Body language

Body language tells the truth about how you are feeling and conveys a great deal of important information to the interviewer. Whilst there are some obvious tips (such as do not slouch or chew gum), others are more subtle:

  • Avoid crossing your legs and place both feet flat on the floor – this will help your posture and encourage you to sit up straight.
  • Don’t cross your arms or place your elbows on the table, this can come across as very negative.
  • It’s fine to lean forwards slightly, as this shows you are engaged – but find the balance between engagement and looking slightly wired and intimidating!

Andy Halliday, Co-Founder Halliday Marx comments “Candidates always rehearse their expected interview questions but so many neglect to practice their body language. This is important since nerves will encourage many interviewees to adopt distracting tendencies such as overusing their hands or fiddling with jewellery. Simply being aware of these habits will help to curb them during an interview”.

Finally, never underestimate the simple act of smiling; smile when you meet people, smile through your answers and smile when you say goodbye. This shows you are relaxed, positive, friendly, approachable and energetic. More importantly, you will be perceived as someone our clients would like to work with!

In Summary

The way you present and carry yourself sets the tone for the entire interview. Selecting a skilled, specialist recruitment and search firm like Halliday Marx will ensure you have all you need to give yourself the best chance of getting that dream job and making a lasting impression.

​If you’re seeking career opportunities in the finance and accounting space, call us on 020 7096 8200, or write to us at [email protected]

For the latest recruitment information, financial opportunities, career advice and company updates, follow us on LinkedIn and twitter @HallidayMarx

Our philosophy is simple; do things simply, do them well.