3 Ways to Display Professionalism in Your Interviews


“Be Professional!” are two words but a sentence in itself. A sentence which has haunted and perplexed many when it comes to giving interviews. It is an irony that people know that they are supposed to be professional when they give interviews but they don’t even have a slightest of inkling on how they are supposed to be so.

If you have ever given an interview then you’d have heard these lines, “We are looking for professional and dynamic people.”,“Try being more professional.”,“This is a professional workspace, act accordingly!”,“Only professionals will be sent to an on-site project.” These lines tell us about the importance of professionalism in our daily corporate lives.

What is Professionalism?

It is a behavioral expectation from every professional. It is a basis to hire a person for a job. It is a display of confidence and potential of the candidate that makes the interviewer develop a positive opinion towards him/her.

Who is a Professional?

It is a term used to describe a skilled personnel who fits into a job or profession. There are a few things like educational qualifications, previous experiences, body language et cetera that go into making you a professional being.

How to make yourself more Professional?

If you’ve got the necessary qualification for the job you’ve applied for but still not clearing the interview, the problem may be lack of professionalism in interviews. 

Through the following three criteria you can solve this problem: 

1) Look Professional:

This criterion may seem absurd. You may even think “How can someone be judged by their looks?” Sometimes, people misunderstand looks for facial or personal features. This is not at all true. However, your dress code, your style of walking and sitting that creates the first impression in the mind of your interviewer come under looking professional. Cracking this will makes your job half easy. 

Now, imagine a chef, a doctor and a police inspector. Make sure you are identifying them properly.

Doesn’t the chef you’ve imagined wear a toque blanche (chef's hat) and a white double-breasted jacket with black decoration?  Doesn’t your doctor wears a white coat and carries a stethoscope? And doesn’t your police officer wears his uniform and carries a gun with him?

These appearances that you’ve imagined are defined on the basis of professions. One can never imagine a chef in a suit, a doctor in tees and jeans and a police inspector in DJ clothes. This is what comes under display of professionalism through looks. 

That is why, if you are giving an interview, make sure that you follow the dress code and wear formal clothing. Giving an interview in a shabby attire can cause you rejection from your dream company even if you possess excellent academic knowledge.

2) Speak Professionally:

You may wonder “How can professionalism be displayed through speaking?” However, the way you speak and what you speak conveys a lot about your personality and your knowledge to the interviewer. Speaking professionally has nothing to do with high-level tongue twisting or using complex English words. Rather it means using technical jargons that match the job profile you’ve applied for.

Imagine two engineers asked to describe a knife. One says, “This knife is very sharp, it can cut almost anything, it can even pierce hard fruits and vegetables. It can also be used for cutting meat without making a mess.” while the other says “This is a crystal edge knife, it has laser cut precision with the edge thickness of 10 micrometers, that makes it operable even with least amount of applied force”.

Whom would you hire? If I were an interviewer, I would easily take the first person to be a salesperson and hire the second one. This is because the second person fulfills the expectations of someone who has applied for the job profile of an engineer. 

Do not get into complex terminologies, use terminologies that are related to the job and the education you’ve had.  Use terminologies that you are flexible with explaining. Avoid the usage of local lingo to the maximum extent possible and do not abide yourself to any particular slang. Try being formal and have an understandable rate of speech.

3) Behave Professionally:

Looking professional and speaking professionally are not enough for giving interviews. You need to keep in mind to behave professionally as well. 

This behaviour includes everything, starting from the resume to the handshakes. The following are some behavioral traits that are observed by an interviewer:

  • Be confident, throughout the interview. This gives an impression of the dynamic personality of the candidate 

  • Body-Posture. Sit up straight and relaxed. Actions of the hands and legs must not convey unacceptable gestures. 

  • Be Polite. Your tone must always be humble. Have the patience to listen before answering. 

  • When asked, put forth your doubts and queries without hesitation. This makes the impression that you really want to work in the organization.

These are the ways with which you can add Professionalism to your personality while giving interviews and get the job you want.

Written by - Dinesh Srinivas

Edited by - Vasudha Sabharwal

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