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Today we are going to help you dress smartly for your interview!
When deciding how to dress for an interview, it is important to remember to look professional. You want your clothing to show you are serious about the job, and you respect the interviewer for their time and opportunity for the position.
After setting up the interview, send them a follow up email or mail in the letter thanking them for the opportunity.
This will make you stand out above all of the other people possibly interviewing for the position.
Before The Interview Preparation:
Research the Job: Make sure you understand the job you are interviewing for and the requirements that you need. You are going to have to highlight your skills and stand out against every other person interviewing for the job. Doing your research and knowing just a bit more about the company and the role you could possibly play is a quick and easy way to give yourself a leg up on the competition.
List your Strengths: Writing a list of your strengths and weaknesses (especially in the context of the job requirements) can help you formulate your thoughts during the interview when pressed to answer questions about yourself and what you can bring to the job. You are the only person that is going to see this list so be honest with yourself and don’t be afraid to be critical.
Find someone who has experience with interviewing! Bonus points if they have actually conducted an interview before! Catch them up on the company and position you applied for and they can ask practice questions!
Do a Mock Interview: Ask a friend or sit down and record yourself on camera. Go through the whole interview process like you normally would: prepare notes, dress in your formal outfit, sit down, and answer a few standard interview questions. Not only will this help you shake off some pre interview nerves but if gives you a chance to answer questions without the pressure of the actual interview. You can also practice with someone else.
Be Prepared: Have your clothes, hair, makeup, and resume all prepared and ready to go before the big day. You never know what roadblocks you will encounter on the day of the interview so having these essential elements figured out and ready to go can only help you save time.
What to Bring: Monster.com suggests 10 essential items to bring to a job interview. These items include business cards, pen and paper, extra copies of your resume, a folder or portfolio, and a list of prepared questions and talking points. Not only will this help you reduce stress but it will help you look more professional and help you stand out among the other interviewees.
Avoid being too flashy. This includes crazy colored socks, headwear, or printed shirts.
Focus on the fit and wrinkles
- Wear a suit and tie:
- Wear a well-fitting three-button suit in a dark color with matching pants.
- Wear a long-sleeve white or solid blue button-down shirt. Make sure it is ironed.
- Wear a conservative tie in either a solid color or with a small printed pattern – neutral colors are best. Anything too colorful may distract the interviewer.
- Wear a dark-colored belt – this will ensure your pants fit right and gives you a more sophisticated look.
- Make sure your socks are as dark or darker than your pants. They should be long enough so that none of your legs show when you sit down.
- If you do not have a suit, wear a white or solid blue dress shirt with a conservative tie and dress pants. Make sure everything is ironed – wrinkles give off a bad first impression.
- Wear dress shoes. They should be in good condition and polished with no scuff marks.
- Don’t hesitate to ask a friend or family member for advice on how you look.
Click here to learn how a suit should properly fit
- Limit accessories:
- It is better not to wear any jewelry except for a wedding band if you are married.
- Make sure your hair is cut neatly and not in your face.
- Make sure you are clean shaven and that any facial hair is neatly shaped and shortened.
- If possible, wear clothing that will cover tattoos and piercings.
- Do not wear cologne – not wearing cologne eliminates the chances of having too much on and choking your interviewer.
Click here to learn how to match suits and shoes
- Bring only a small portfolio and turn off your phone:
- A small portfolio-sized binder that can hold copies of your resume, references and a pen should be all you need.
- Make sure your cell phone is turned off. Store it out of sight for the entire interview, if you can, try not to bring it in at all.
- We’ve gone over the basics for the formal dress wear above, but its important to keep in mind the job you are interviewing for. Something that requires you to work outside might have different dress requirements for an interview versus an interview for an office position where you would automatically dress in formal business or business casual wear.
When in doubt keep it professional
- Make sure to read the fine print of any email or correspondence you receive and keep in mind the kind of job you are applying for.
- If you run into any roadblocks with limiting accessories such as earrings or hiding tattoos keep in mind the importance of making a good first impression and that (like we mentioned above) an overabundance of cologne or overgrown facial hair can detract from a good first impression with a potential employer.
- The appearance of a piercing or a tattoo will not deter most employers nowadays if you have an overall great attitude and work that speaks for itself but that all goes back into your overall presentation: make sure you look nice, have your resume in order, and walk in with a professional and ready to work attitude.
- Make sure you also don’t bring too many personal accessories – if you are a woman try to limit the size of your purse and if possible just try to bring a small purse or briefcase and any professional portfolio you have – if you are a man – just a briefcase and portfolio should be all that is needed.
- It should be reiterated that a cellphone should be kept in your pocket and turned off (or on silent if necessary to be easily reached) but a short interview is worth the time it is kept off – to avoid looking unprofessional as a result of any cell phone related interruption.
- Always wear crisp, clean pressed clothing! Shower or bathe the morning of and wear deodorant so you smell fresh but not overpowering. Fresh breath, clean teeth, and kept hair are small details that will help you make that strong first impression.
What to Say:
In addition to the above mentioned preparation and talking points, Business Insider lists 8 essential things to say in every interview. According to this article it is important to highlight that you:
- Know the Company Well
- Have the Experience
- Work Well With Others
- Are Willing to Learn
- Are Motivated
- Are excited and have a plan
- Want to Build a Future With the Company
After the interview send a follow up email or letter to the hiring manager and thank them for their time interviewing you and considering you for the position.
Ask Questions: Immediately after the interview is over you should always take advantage of the opportunity to ask questions to your interviewer. It is a chance for you to stand out and impress the company greatly. According to The Balance here are some questions that you should and should not be asking after the interview.
Questions to Ask:
- How would you describe a typical day in this position?
- What is the management style of the company?
- How many people work in this department?
- What are the prospects for growth and advancement in this position?
Questions to Avoid:
- What does this company do? (*Remember your research!)
- Can I have these days off?
- Did I get the job? or How did I do?
In addition to following up with the initial interviewer you should always send a thank you letter that further reiterates your interest in the job and expresses your overall gratitude for being considered. It is an opportunity to bring up anything that might have been missed in the initial interview but also deepens any goodwill you have with the company and you will hopefully be considered for any future positions as a result.
If you don’t get the job, don’t be afraid to call and ask for a follow up interview! It is always nice to know why a company does or does not choose you for their team!
Remember not everyone is a good fit in every place, while you may not get the job it is always nice to thank them for the opportunity and use every situation to grow.
Be ready to handle illegal and inappropriate questions:
Interview questions about your race, age, gender, religion, marital status, and sexual orientation are inappropriate and in many areas illegal. Nevertheless, you may get one or more of them. If you do, you have a couple of options. You can simply answer with a question (“I’m not sure how that’s relevant to my application”), or you can try to answer “the question behind the question”: “I don’t know whether I’ll decide to have children in the near future, but if you’re wondering if I’ll be leaving my job for an extended period of time, I can say that I’m very committed to my career and frankly can’t imagine giving it up.”
No one likes a complainer, so don’t dwell on negative experiences during an interview. Even if the interviewer asks you point blank, “What courses have you liked least?” or “What did you like least about that previous job?” don’t answer the question. Or more specifically, don’t answer it as it’s been asked. Instead, say something like, “Well, actually I’ve found something about all of my classes that I’ve liked. For example, although I found [class] to be very tough, I liked the fact that [positive point about the class]” or “I liked [a previous job] quite a bit, although now I know that I really want to [new job].”
Don’t talk negative:
No matter what speak highly of your previous employers and supervisors.
If you talk negatively about the past it will make the potential employer not want to hire you. People who continuously put their bad experiences on the employer and not themselves are not the type of people businesses want to hire.
Even if you made mistakes at a previous job, if they are on your record and your potential employer is asking about it you should be honest and take the responsibility. Share what you learned from it.
Close on a positive note:
If a salesman came to you and demonstrated his product, then thanked you for your time and walked out the door, what did he do wrong? He didn’t ask you to buy it! If you get to the end of an interview and think you’d really like that job, ask for it! Tell the interviewer that you’d really, really like the job – that you were excited about it before the interview and are even more excited now, and that you’re convinced you’d like to work there. If there are two equally good candidates at the end of the search – you and someone else – the interviewer will think you’re more likely to accept the offer, and thus may be more inclined to make an offer to you.
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