Interview Mastery, Part 1
We’ve all been there...after all the grueling hours of re-doing your resume or cover letter to pulling your hair out by filling out those long repetitive applications, you finally landed... The INTERVIEW.
Maybe you’re like me and interviews for you feel like first dates. Either you’ve had a million of them and you feel somewhat numb or you haven’t had much and the thought makes you want to throw up a little.
Here’s the kicker: anyone can be an interview whiz (yes, you).
In fact, anyone with practice, a few tips, finding full confidence in who you are and what you want can get you in the seat at your dream job. Here are three tips that can ensure interview excellence:
First impression rules: dress to impress, time management, tactfulness.
Know your stuff: research the company you are interviewing, know their mission statement, values, specific job and have questions ready.
Follow up and self-reflection: always follow up with a thank you email and/or card, Journal/track interviews and how you responded and what you can do better.
Today we are going to discuss tip numero uno: dressing to impress. Simple in theory, difficult in practice.
You have about 7 seconds for someone to make a first impression: only 7 seconds. Maybe enough time to stand up, shake their hand, introduce yourself and for them to check you out (if you’re well dressed). What do you want their impression to be as you depart? Remember, how we dress is the foremost extension of our personal pride. The adage, “dress for the job you want” continues to ring true. Even after working somewhere for a while and the urge to go “business casual” I would council against it. Who knows when your VP will suddenly show up? How can you keep yourself looking good and not spend the totality of your budget on clothes?
Well, first, find someone you look up to when it comes to their sense of style, an “office model.” Mirror their style and customize for yourself – show your colleagues your commitment to looking your best.
New flash: it’s better to overdress than underdress. We have all been in those interviews and it’s a bit embarrassing and distracting when you are constantly thinking about that belt you didn’t wear. Now there is a limit to dressing in a trendy fashion. For example, don’t show up in the current fashion of high-waisted shorts with a flannel tied around your waist and heels…not the best impression left behind.
All to say, there is a balance here. Maybe instead of H&M, try Nordstrom Rack or even local consignment stores have the look you want to rock. Keep your attire consistently professional and nobody will care about the logo.
What to Wear: What are employers looking for you ask?
Women: pantsuit or slacks. I promise you there are pantsuits that do not look like the 80s with the big shoulder pads. There are some great fitted yet professional styles out there. Out of your price range? Splurge on a nice blazer and/or pair of slacks. Regarding shoes, they say a lot about a person (ever see someone sharply dressed with scuffed shoes…not a good look). Trust us: heels every day break your back, so try a smaller kitten heel or dressy flats. Find some in black, brown or a little color and you’ll be walking into the interview with an extra pep in your step.
Men: A suit is always going to “win” people over (especially on those first dates). Slim fit suits, slacks, and button downs seem to clean up even the best of ragamuffins. Out of your price range? Try nice slacks and/or a collared shirt... or maybe you could pull off a nice vest, shirt and tie combo.
We are all forced to pull off some semblance of a professional look. Whatever gender you are, what will make you stand out really comes down to how well you accessorize. A nice watch, necklace or earrings could pull your entire outfit together (note: if it looks tainted/haggard or ripped go without: trust me on this one).
Who’s ready to shop?
We believe in you! If you have any questions or tips on “dressing for the job you want?” sign up today for your consultation and let us help! We may even go shopping with you....
Check in next week for part 2.