Sociologists will tell you how you choose in life may predict your success in life.  This has been shown to be true by ‘symbolic interactionists’ (for example, Mead, Blumer, Goffman, Strauss, Glaser, Stryker, Cooley, Manford and Plummer) who have, over the course of the past 40 years, examined such things as presentation of self, symbolic meanings, dramaturgy, generalized other, and basically what causes us to behave the way we do based on values, impressions and symbols.

Job interview cases allow us to see many of the meaning dynamics that occur in human interaction. In these settings, voice pitch, language, facial expressions, body positioning, eye movements, gestures, clothes, and verbal dexterity – are all part of the interaction between applicant and prospective employer. What we as applicants and as employers choose to include in our one hour interview, or even within the first five to ten minutes, may determine beyond a shadow of a doubt whether the applicant will be successful. Most recent findings suggest that a decision to hire can be made within the first 30 seconds. Impression is everything, and first impressions count most.

However, it must be kept in mind that impression management is a function of time, place, and circumstance. Success in life depends, but not always, on impression management. Selling oneself is an aspect of everyday life, but is mitigated by cross-cultural settings, location, expectations, humour, age, sex, education, status, work history, connections, and so on. You may not handle your self-presentation well, but you may have valuable skills that trump these deficiencies. So it all depends.

Best to be yourself and not present a ‘mask’ for what you think others are looking for or expecting. Time is not on your side in this regard, as your real self will eventually appear anyway.