Several weeks ago I had the pleasure of taking part in a mock interview workshop. Students from a local college had the opportunity to engage in a real-life setting as they prepared to enter the workforce upon graduation in June. Not to worry, what I have to say will hit home, student or not.
The topic of shoes was not openly discussed or appeared to be on anyone’s mind. Actually this was rather obvious as most of the students seemed to misplace the importance of what goes on the foot. To be blunt, shoes do play an important role in your appearance and can be a factor in NOT getting a second interview invite.
For the ladies, shoes should be professional and conservative in nature. There are hiring executives who will not look favorably on five-inch heels sporting poorly painted nails. As one who has interviewed many over the years, one of the first things I notice happens to be what covers the feet.
Make sure the shoes match the outfit and if you are wearing open-ended shoes, complete the package with a nice pedicure. You definitely don’t want dirty toes to leave a dusty impression.
Career tip: If you don’t want the job, wear slides or tennis shoes.
For the fellas, you have no choice. Business shoes… nothing else will do. Don’t even think about loafers, tennis shoes, or boots. Your business shoes must match the suit (yes, you will be wearing a suit). Wearing brown shoes with a dark blue suit will not do. Speaking from experience, those who bear dusty or non-polished shoes may be axed before three steps in the door.
At the end of several mock interviews, the topic of a hand shake or fist bump was brought up. I have one word for those considering a fist bump: Really?
At the conclusion of any formal meeting, the appropriate gesture remains a formal hand shake. The hand shake should be firm (not overly aggressive unless you are interviewing to be a wrestler and not too loose unless you are interviewing to work in a carnival as the person handing out creepy feelings).
Make sure the firm hand shake is not laced with sweat and lasts about two seconds. You definitely don’t want to make the other person uncomfortable with a sloppy five second shake that seems to last an hour.
Career tip: If you bump, you lose.
The mock interview session confirmed that many people simply do not know how to interview effectively. Unfortunately for those qualified, simple mistakes can ruin the chance of a job offer. Ultimately if you have questions and must make a choice, choose on the side of conservatism. Always be professional in what you do, what you say, and what you wear. Nothing could be simpler, yet few follow.
If you have questions and would like career-related insight, including how to ace the interview, ECS offers cutting-edge books and workbooks designed to give you a competitive edge. Throughout the pages, prepare yourself with hard hitting questions, truths, activities, samples, and proven strategies to improve your career station. For additional information, go to our storefront page on our website (www.edu-cs.com) or go to Amazon (simply search Danny at ECS).
For additional assistance, don’t hesitate to reach out and send your request through the comment section or email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Danny Hufman, MA, CEIP, CPRW, CPCC
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