The college years are divine. At Oxford, like any small college, you are in a cocoon of nurturing professors and close-knit friends. Classes aren’t crowded and the library is never full. It is a far cry from the hordes trekking to class across an enormous campus at a metropolitan university. You are practically invisible. Some students like the anonymity, but not me. I prefer knowing everyone within sight. Socializing is easy and frequent.

A couple of students and I were once sitting around a communal table in the dining room discussing job interviews. We were a bit intimidated by the process at the time and tried to reassure one another that we could learn the ropes. We read up on demeanor, what to offer first in the way of personal information, and, of course, the appropriate attire from pages like The Internet was our major resource and there was a lot to learn. We role played being the interviewer and the candidate. We weren’t sure what was asked, so once again we turned to the Web. This made our practice sessions more credible. We all but memorized our answers. We even practiced smiling!

Preparing for your first job is something that haunts you during senior year. You think you have made up your mind about careers, but you aren’t really sure. You have ab major and a minor, but each field has several options. You are ready to try your wings at one of them. It all comes down to what positions are available in the region of your choice. You always hope that there are few candidates. You know you have to stand out in the crowd no matter what.

One of the students who had participated in the role playing asked the group to reconvene. He had been talking with the job counselor and wanted to share some news. They had gone over proper attire for an interview and he had some photos and lists of potential items. He recounted some good advice. The counselor emphasized neatness and good grooming. Have a haircut the day before your interview. While it goes without saying that your shirt should be clean and pressed, many young people don’t know to look at the state of their pants and shoes. More than one interview has been failed due to unpolished footwear. This is a forgotten sin. For men, a tie and coat may be appropriate unless you know for sure that it is not required. Women must avoid excessive makeup and jewelry, but both genders need to have a look at the condition of their briefcase or backpack and maybe check on Facebook before you take it with you.

He had a few more tidbits that would prove helpful about posture both sitting and standing. Never shift your feet as it makes you look nervous. During the interview, keep your gaze on the person across the desk and not on the floor. Do not wring your hands, heave a sigh, or stammer. Be aware of your entire presence from top to bottom.