Tag Archives: interview dress

Interview Attire, The Sequel

DSC_0082A few days ago we reviewed professional attire for the ladies, now it’s time to shift our attention to the fellas out there:

Men, you do not have as many options as women when they are dressing for an interview.  You really have few choices on how to dress appropriately for an interview. These tips are for you and should be taken seriously if you really want that job.

  • Wear a suit, with tie
  • This includes a long sleeve dress shirt, white in color, or matching the suit you are wearing
  • Dress socks are a must
  • A belt adds to the professional look, even if you do not require wearing one
  • Dress shoes should be polished and shined
  • Hair should be cut neatly
  • Beards and mustaches must be trimmed
  • Nails should be cut short and neat
  • Briefcase, containing your portfolio

Next is a list of what should NOT be worn to an interview and applies to men and women.  If you find that you wear any of these items below, you may want to reconsider how you are dressing for interviews.

  • Jeans, t-shirts, shorts, or cut-offs of any kind
  • Tennis shoes, boots, or flip flops
  • Excessive jewelry, keep it to a minimum
  • Overpowering aftershave, colognes, or perfumes (notice deodorant is not included here)
  • Cell phones are NOT part of dressing for an interview, leave it in the car
  • Do not allow tattoos to show and if you have piercings in places other than your ears, take them out

Common sense rules that you should always apply, even though they are common sense sometimes people just don’t get it.

  • Prepare your outfit the day before
  • Do not go into the interview with chewing gum in your mouth
  • Do not go in carrying a cup of coffee or a bottle of soda
  • DO NOT BRING YOUR CELL PHONE INTO THE INTERVIEW

It would appear that this is a quite a bit of information to remember, but it really is not.  Once you have these basic tips down, the rest will follow.

CC Reflection: Think like a professional, dress like a professional, be a professional.

Meanwhile, as for my niece, she did finally get a job using the tips I had given her on how to dress, it is a starter job, but everyone has to start somewhere and the skills she will learn will help her in her future career.

Penned by
Sharon Parker
Your CC Connection

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Interview Attire: Looking the Part

DSC_0057In a world where your first impression is now your resume and the second impression is when a potential employer meets you for the first time, it is important to dress appropriately for an interview.

CC Reflection: Going to an interview is tough enough without having to worry about how you look.

Recently I have been trying to teach my niece, who is new to the working world, how to dress when going in to ask for an application and if extremely lucky, an on-the-spot interview.  My niece thinks the more skin she shows the better her chances are of getting hired.  This strategy did work for her when she filled out an application at a certain fast food restaurant; she was even hired until they noticed her actual date of birth.  Apparently you have to be 18 and because of the way she was dressed and her build they thought she was older than she was.  I sat her down and gave her some tips on how she should dress and what she should NOT wear.  I’m going to share these tips with you so you can be better prepared to dress for your interview.

How you dress for an interview communicates to an interviewer how you will dress coming to work (if not wearing a uniform), how seriously you take the interview, and your respect for the company.  No matter the type of job you are interviewing for, always dress up for the interview.  This is YOUR first personal impression to an interviewer.  Your resume got you the interview; therefore how you dress for the interview can very well get you the job or cause you to lose it.

First we will start with basic tips for men and women alike.

  • ALWAYS bathe before an interview
  • Use deodorant
  • Brush your teeth
  • Groom your hair
  • Wear appropriate undergarments

The above tips seem simple and everyone should know this, but you would be surprised how many times I have seen people come in for an interview and have done none of the above.  Even if applying for a manual labor job, always follow the above tips.  If you stink at the interview, they are not going to want you to stink up the office or warehouse or even the company truck.

For women there are more guidelines that should be followed than there are for men, which is why we are leaving the men for last.  These tips will dress you from head to foot with confidence that you look professional and ready to take on any challenge.

  • A suit with a matching jacket would be the best thing you can wear
  • Dresses should NOT come any higher than half an inch above the knee, and half an inch below the knee
  • If wearing a skirt or dress, panty hose is recommended
  • Slips should be worn underneath dresses or skirts
  • Slacks should be pressed and ironed with the crease in the middle
  • Slacks should be the correct length for you, not dragging on the floor or waiting for high tide
  • Stockings or pantyhose are still recommended, even if wearing slacks
  • A blouse or shirt that is NOT cut low, accompanied with a jacket, preferably one that you can button
  • Closed toe shoes with a low heel
  • Your hair should be pulled back, away from your face and neat
  • Keep nails trimmed and clean
  • Always try on the outfit the day before to be sure it fits well, you do not want to be bursting out at the seams
  • Bring your portfolio, that will complete your professional look

We’ve concentrated on female dress and now will take a break before heading into what you guys out there need to know. Our next read will be published in a few days. Until then, keep your shoes shined and never forget one of the most important first impression cues: your smile.

Penned by Sharon Parker
Your CC Connection

Phone Interviews on the Rise

According to the most recent Career Thought Leaders Group, phone interviews are increasing in frequency and scrutiny. Accordingly, in addition to the initial phone screening, telephone interviews are being used more often to cut costs and save time during the hiring process.

Given its usage increase during the interview cycle, the consequence of improper phone etiquette can be damaging to your career. With this in mind, improving your phone interview odds can be gained by following these common-sense tips.

●  Dressing up for your phone interview. I know it sounds a bit odd but it is a well-known fact that individuals “looking the part” perform more effectively than those in their pajamas.
●  Researching the company, industry, and specific position. Besides doing a bit of company research on the Internet, a valuable job skills and responsibilities resource can be found at ONETOnline.org. Recognizing what’s out there in terms of products, competitors, and job opportunities will give the interviewer the perception that you know what you are talking about and that you are interested in the company and position.
●  Engaging in the phone interview in a quiet area with limited (how about none) distractions. Remember the interviewer can’t see you or your physical reactions. As a result, the interviewer is seeking clues to help them determine if you are the right fit. For example, are dogs barking near your feet? Is a mother-in-law asking what you want for lunch? Are kids yelling in the background? Is street-rap blaring in the background? Noises and distractions in the background do create an impression, rarely a positive one.
●  Being prepared for the “Tell me about yourself” question. When asked this question (or something like the “Why should I hire you” question) appreciate the question is designed for your benefit and is the ideal opportunity to sell yourself and the many contributions you bring. This is where company and job position research comes in handy as you develop a response based upon what the company needs, not a long-winded story about summer camp.
●  Keeping a professional and calm tone. This is not the time to speak rapidly, too softly, or too loudly. Make sure your responses are heard at a comfortable level and not overtaking. Remember the interviewer is listening for clues of confidence, not cockiness.
●  Asking a career coach, mentor, or family member to practice with you. When it comes to phone interview strategies, practice does make perfect. Don’t fight me on this, but when conducting a mock interview, dress and act the part.

No doubt companies are becoming more and more cost conscious and will expand the use of non-face-to-face interview methods. For the unprepared, this could be disastrous on many levels. But for those who have performed their due diligence, becoming one of the pack leaders can be obtained.

If you have questions or examples regarding phone interviews or any other career related issue, don’t hesitate to reach out and send your request through the comment section or email me directly at dhuffman@edu-cs.com.

For those interested in obtaining cutting-edge career books and single topic guidebooks, visit our website (www.edu-cs.com) or go to Amazon (simply search Danny at ECS) and review the available library of available career resources.

Danny Hufman, MA, CEIP, CPRW, CPCC
www.educationcareerservices.com
Got Twitter? Shadow me @dannyatecs

Career Breakout: Pre-Interview Strategy

Congratulations on receiving a job interview, NOW is not the time to panic but to prepare. Seems like each day “what to do next” interview questions come in. As a result, the following goes out to Bianca who asked:

“I have an upcoming job interview at the Grand Hyatt hotel, what advice can you share?”

An obvious response on my side of the equation is “why would a potential employer want to interview you?” Think about it for a second, what qualities do you offer which are considered valuable? What knowledge, skills, and/or abilities do you bring to the table?

Career tip: Once these questions are answered honestly, the next step is to expand and strengthen your contributions.

An easy task? Not really but one which must be performed. Here are a few steps I suggest you take prior to the interview:

  • Review your resume and cover letter, making sure you can respond to any questions in a confident and quantifiable manner. For instance, if you trained peers, be ready to detail the number of peers, your direct involvement, and the outcome.
  • Research the job position, description, and company. A typical question asked is “what do you like about our company” or “what interests you most about the      position.” A huge turn-off is when the applicant is unable to respond adequately or states he or she did not have time to research… a big time no-no. http://www.onetonline.org is a good job position description source.
  • Dress professionally… there is no compromise when it comes to how you look. Remember you will be representing the organization.
  • Be kind and courteous to all you come into contact with, including and especially the receptionist. Professionalism goes a long way!
  • Ask pertinent questions when given the opportunity; this is where research comes into play.
  • After the interview, send an electronic thank you note AND a hand written thank you note. This display of professionalism is often neglected.

Though the above points are not all-inclusive, this is a great foundation no matter the level of experience you happen to be at.

Oh yes, one more before this concludes: BE and BELIEVE IN YOURSELF

I hope this helps and you secure a successful interview. Let us know how it goes…

Education Career Services, pens and publishes career development textbooks and single target booklets. Our “Interviewing Like a Star” single topic guidebook offers hard hitting questions, truths, activities, samples, and proven strategies to improve your career station. If interested in this or any career collateral, go to our products page on our website (www.edu-cs.com), or go to Amazon (simply search Danny at ECS).

For additional information or assistance, don’t hesitate to reach out and send your request through the comment section or email me directly at dhuffman@edu-cs.com).

Danny Hufman, MA, CEIP, CPRW, CPCC
www.educationcareerservices.com
Got Twitter? Shadow me @dannyatecs

Career Breakout: Interview Preparation (Part Two of Two)

A few days ago we rested in the middle of number one. For a quick recap, here’s the list once more:

  1. Do your homework
  2. Know where you fit and why
  3. Be ready to ask questions as well as answer them

If you happened to miss our last discussion, refer back to the previous submission and get caught up in a hurry. As it is, let’s examine how company personality can be used for your advantage as you head into an interview.

We left off after highlighting company research resources available at your fingertips. Use these same resources to learn about key people in the organization, particularly the area you’re interviewing for. If you’ve been provided a contact in case you have questions, you might politely inquire as to the name or name(s) of the individuals you’ll be meeting in your interview and their titles within the firm.

Receptionists, administrative assistants, and HR personnel are very busy individuals often answering to and supporting a number of individuals in a company at once, so don’t make multiple calls to them or abuse the opportunity to communicate with them. Only call when you have gathered as much information as possible on your own. Make your inquiry short and polite, and thank them for their time and help, even if they can’t provide you the answers you’d hoped.

Career Tip #1: As a potential employee, learning as much as you can about the company is the only way you can successfully accomplish number two on our list.

Let’s take a look at number two on our list of how to prepare for an interview, “Know where you fit and why.”

Now that you’ve studied up on your future employer, have an idea how big the firm is (a team of five family members or an international conglomerate of 50,000), what’s important to them, and gained a sense of what they value and what kind of culture exists within the firm, you’ve got the information you need to figure out where you fit and why.

Career Tip #2: Being prepared shows confidence, initiative, and career readiness.

Know how to respond to expected questions such as “What led you to apply to this firm,” “What strengths do you bring to this position,” and even “Where do you see yourself in five year?”

While you can answer these questions without knowing anything about the company, consider how much better you’ll look as a knowledgeable and prepared candidate. Packed with information, imagine how much more clearly you can make your case for your being THE RIGHT INDIVIDUAL for the job if you can answer common (and no-so common) questions with specificity, using the information you gleaned in Step one!

You can probably see how Step one has also set you up to “Be ready to ask questions as well as answer them” (taking us to number three on the list).

Everyone arrives at an interview expecting to answer questions about themselves and their qualifications. And everyone interviewing for a specific position likely has very similar answers to one another (after all, you’re all up for the same job!). Visualize what that’s like for the interview, though. It’d be like watching the same scene from a movie over and over and over again.

How can you make the interview experience different for the interviewer? How can you stand out from the others interviewing with the same credentials, and same background as you have?

In addition to being able to give specific answers to your interviewer’s questions–answers that demonstrate you’ve done your homework, know about the company and know where you might fit in the company–you can also ask great questions when given the opportunity.

Very often, at the end of an interview, you’ll be asked “Are there any questions we can answer for you?” Be ready! Ask questions that help you learn even more about the company and about the position for which you’re applying. Working relationships go both ways so think of asking the right questions as an opportunity to interview the company. After all, you need to decide whether working for them is right for your future.

In effect, you’re both interviewing one another. So, when given the opportunity, have two or three great questions ready to ask that demonstrate that you’ve studied the company, care about the job, and are seriously interested in whether you’re the right fit for the position. These questions give you one last opportunity to SHOW your future employer who you are.

I know you can’t imagine NOT wanting a job! But sometimes it’s important to know that you can work for a firm and be happy.

I hope you find these suggestions helpful as you prepare for your interview!  Good luck!

Presented by Kathryn Broyles, Ph.D.,
Program Director of General Studies
American Public University/American Military University

Thank you once again Kathryn, your advice is greatly appreciated. For those interested in learning more about American Public University/American Military University where they are expanding access to higher education with more than 100 affordable degrees and certificates to prepare students for service and leadership in a diverse and global society, visit their website at www.apus.edu.

Danny Huffman, MA, CEIP, CPRW, CPCC
EducationCareerServices.com
Got Twitter? Follow me @DannyatECS

Career Breakout: Ink or Excuse?

In response to our most recent article dealing with tattoos, Christopher responded in the following manner…

I also have tattoos that are mostly where no one can see them but the few on my wrist are obvious. What do you suggest I do? I am a hard worker getting ready to graduate college.”

First of all, being unemployed and owning tattoos are not exclusive to each other. In other words, career success and ink can cohabitate. Not knowing your exact situation or background, I offer these general guidelines and job hunting strategies to enhance your personal career success:

  • Prepare an effective resume AND cover letter highlighting your knowledge, skills, and abilities. Overall, companies look for candidates with a proven track record. The reasoning here being that if you improved operations or increased sales with another company, you will do it again for their company. As a result, time to brag about achievements is NOW (detail accomplishments and responsibilities with numbers when possible)… simply stating you managed a sales team is not enough. To place your resume on the right pile, state the number of people you supervised and the bottom-line result due to your hard work and superior team leading skills.
  • Once you gain an interview, dress the part. Males should wear a suit accompanied by a tie (get over the tears and just do it) while the ladies should dress      professionally in a business suit of their own. Remember first impressions can ruin an opportunity.
  • Speaking of first impressions, let’s focus on your tattoos. As you will be wearing a long sleeve shirt (to go with your suit), unless there are facial markings, our concern      resides on the wrists. Wearing a watch on your right hand may shield a sliver (or most for some) and should be considered. I suggest the right hand as that is typically used during the initial handshake. Regarding your left hand, do not keep it in your pocket as that will raise suspicion.
  • If your tattoo catches a concerning eye, facial twitch, or remark, be honest but do not state any prejudicial quips. For example, don’t make mention that during a college drinking binge in Las Vegas you woke up in a bathtub to notice a      permanent mark or during a three-year stint with the state it was part of a gang initiation. Not sure why but some companies don’t think kindly on such information. Being honest (but not prejudicial) may work in your advantage.
  • Be prepared to counter negative responses or smirks with a positive. After your reply transition and refocus the interview on the many advantages you bring to the company. You may be surprised at the positive responses received once the white elephant in the room is recognized. You may be even more surprised by knowing how many of those same hiring managers have tattoos.
  • To summarize, be confident and always brand yourself as a problem resolver, not a problem maker.

It is true that many “conservative” companies are not tattoo-sensitive and discriminate, but the number of those organizations is shrinking. No matter the situation, see through the eyes of the employer and respond to his or her concerns. To be blunt, hiring manager concerns boil down to two things:

1. Can you increase sales, bring in revenue, or expand the customer base
2. Can you decrease costs, develop new methods of production, or enhance team development

Quite simply, it’s all about the bottom line. Tattoo or no tattoo, you are the right candidate if you can satisfy one of the above conditions. Going into an interview passively or not confident due to a few ink spots is not conducive to your career. Quite honestly, in the midst of the total package, it’s all about the money so get over any excuses and get into your groove.

If you have any questions for our career professionals, we are ready.

Interested in learning more about Education Career Services library of career resources, books, and workbooks, visit our website or go to Amazon.com (search Huffman at ecs).

Danny Hufman, MA, CEIP, CPRW, CPCC
www.educationcareerservices.com
Twitter: @dannyatecs