Do You Have the Right Interview Clothes?

We live in a world where first impressions mean a whole lot, no matter how much we wish they didn’t. What you wear to your job interview is actually really important. Many HR reps, managers, and other interviewers pay really close attention to what you wear to your interview.

If you find yourself standing in your closet or in front of a mirror asking “what should I wear to my interview?”, then you should know you aren’t alone. It can be difficult to determine the right clothes for an interview. However, here are some key things to keep in mind when picking out your interview clothes:

Dress for the Job

If you are interviewing for a job as a construction worker, you probably don’t need to wear a full suit. And that works both ways. If you are interviewing for a position in an office, you shouldn’t show up wearing jeans and a t-shirt. No matter the job, make sure your clothes are clean, don’t have holes, and are appropriate.

Wearing Fragrances

On a typical day, you might splash on some aftershave or spritz some perfume on. I mean, who doesn’t like to smell nice? But before you go to an interview, you don’t want to do either of those things. You never know when someone will have an allergy or a sensitive nose, and you certainly don’t want your first impression to be someone to sneezing or getting sick because of your fragrance.

The Key Is In the Details

Are your shoes polished? Does your belt go with your suit? Is your jewelry distracting? Are you wearing matching socks? Are you wearing the right colors?  These are the types of questions to ask yourself while looking in the mirror before your interview. Everything needs to match and not be a distraction. Keep in mind that you want to look professional and like you already belong as an employee.

When In Doubt

If you can’t figure out what you should wear to the interview, then feel free to call the HR department. You don’t want show up to your interview underdressed, so ask what is recommended. If you aren’t brave enough to ask, then overdress slightly because that makes a better first impression than being underdressed.

Do you have any questions about what you should wear to your upcoming interview? Leave your questions in the comments section below!

How to Be a Memorable Job Candidate

When job searching, the challenge to stand out from the competition is constant. And according to a survey conducted by Career Builder this summer, the pressure to be memorable can cause many job seekers to do just about anything.

Career Builder asked over 2,000 employers across the country to name the most unusual ways in which job seekers have tried to stand out from the crowd. Hilarity ensued. Some of the best (worst) submissions included:

  • “Candidate lit a corner of their resume on fire to show their ‘burning desire’ for the job”
  • “Candidate had his daughter call the hiring manager in advance of the interview to thank the hiring manager ‘for giving her dad a job'”
  • “Candidate answered a call during the interview stating that another company was calling to discuss a job offer”
  • “Candidate brought a bag of props into the interview and pulled them out as they were relevant in the questions/answers”

It may be tempting to think out of the box like these folks when trying to get a leg up. However, to find success in your efforts, you must be remembered for the right reasons.

Here are some great ways to (appropriately) grab an employer’s attention.

Leave something behind.
Leaving a physical reminder will help you stick in a hiring manager’s mind. Bring in portfolios and/or a hard copy of your resume to refer to as you interview. After concluding your meeting with the hiring manager, leave at least one of your documents that the employer can remember you by.

Turn your interview into a conversation.
Hiring managers don’t actually want to interview you. Rattling off a list of questions is even less enjoyable than sitting there rattling off a list of dry answers. So don’t be afraid to deviate from “the script”- it’s okay to spend a few minutes going on a tangent if it helps you build a relationship with the employer.

Ask amazing questions.
Candidates who ask strong questions are perceived as interested and driven individuals, so you never want to leave an interview having not inquired about any aspect of the job. Do plenty of research about the company prior to interviewing- the more you know ahead of time, the better constructed and thoughtful your questions will be.

Follow up. Always.
Sure, it’s one of the oldest rules in the book, but it has stuck around for good reason. Before you breathe a sigh of relief that your interview is over, send your interviewer(s) a thoughtful thank-you letter. Reflect on the experience and mention something specific and memorable from the interview. If you are still interested in the position, say so! Reiterate your excitement about the opportunity and be upfront about your desire to continue with the interviewing process.

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How to Impress a Recruiter

Last week we discussed some of the things you can do to not impress a recruiter. While it important to know what not to do when meeting with a recruiter, it is equally, if not more so, important to know how to impress a recruiter. While you could just do the opposite of the things discussed last week that will not be enough to really impress a recruiter. To impress a recruiter, you need to go above and beyond what you think might work. You need to be prepared for questions, for tests, and for a quick process. Here are a few things you can do to impress a recruiter:

Prepare a Resume

While the position you are applying for may not require a resume, it is still a great idea to have one with you when you meet a recruiter. Even if you filled out an application online and uploaded a version of your resume, bringing a paper copy with you shows that you are dedicated and thorough. Impress your recruiter by being prepared with a resume and show that you care about the opportunity.

Dress Appropriately

The way you dress says a lot about you and your career/job goals. While you do not necessarily need to wear your best clothes (like a suite), you do want to make sure you are dressed appropriately for the job and for your interview. When considering what to wear, make sure that your clothing is free of holes, offensive language, and excessive wrinkles. When you dress appropriately for an interview, you convey that you are highly interested in the position and that you are professional.

Have Questions

If you are going into an interview, it is important to know that you will be asked questions. Practice answering interview questions with a friend or relative before your interview so that you can answer the questions the recruiter has well and completely. However, if you really want to impress a recruiter, have your own questions ready. What do you need to know about the position? What is the work environment like? Remember, by asking questions you show your interest and you will also learn more about the company and position.

Be Punctual

One of the best ways to impress a recruiter is to actually show up on time. Just because you may be applying for and interviewing for temporary positions does not mean it is okay to show up late. When you do show up late, you waste the recruiter’s time, your time, and ultimately the time of the organization trying to hire you. Do yourself a favor and show up on time. Not only does it show you are a punctual and dedicated person, but it will impress the recruiter and could increase your chances of being hired.

How Not to Impress a Recruiter

Maybe you’re applying to a temporary job. Maybe a recruiter has reached out to you about a position. Regardless of the situation, there are certain things you can do as a candidate to most definitely disappoint a recruiter. For passive and active candidates, if you are trying to land a job, it is important to know what works and does not work when interacting with a recruiter. Here are a few things that will not impress a recruiter:

Showing Up Late

If you have set an appointment to meet with a recruiter or with someone at the organization you are trying to be placed at, show up and show up on time. Recruiters will not want to work with you if you have poor attendance and leave them waiting.

Exaggerating Qualifications

If you have experience as an executive administrator, then you should not apply to a position that involves operating a forklift. Know what skills you have and go after jobs that will allow you to showcase the skills you have.

No Enthusiasm

If you are not excited about the potential of a new job, then a recruiter will not be excited about placing you in a new job. Show enthusiasm for the potential of a job and convey excitement when you are interacting with your recruiter.

Talking Too Much

If you are doing the majority of the talking when you meet a recruiter, you may be doing it wrong. Be sure to listen to what the recruiter has to say about the position and organization you are applying to. Show that you can listen and follow instructions.

Before you meet or speak with a recruiter, make sure you know what they are looking for and be sure you make the right impression.

Making a Great First Impression

When you are preparing for your upcoming interview, you need to think about the impression you are going to make. There are many factors of a first impression and it’s important to know and understand what they are. While it certainly isn’t a fun thing to think about, it’s important to understand that hiring managers will be judging you during your interview. Making a great first impression could mean the difference of getting a second interview and being dismissed as a serious candidate right away.

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Questions Not to Ask in an Interview

In our last post, we talked about the importance of asking questions  in an interview and gave you some examples of questions you should be asking. Something else that is as equally important to know is what questions not to ask in an interview. When you ask the wrong questions during an interview, you can come off as aggressive and forceful, which can cause the interviewer dismissing you as a candidate.

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Interview Questions to Ask

It’s no secret that interviews can be stressful. You have to think about what you are going to wear, what questions to prepare for, and how you are going to explain any gaps in your resume. But, there is one more key thing you need to be thinking about: the interview questions you’re going to ask.

Typically, interviewers will ask you if you have any questions, and having interview questions prepared is going to give a much better impression. So, before you leave home, make sure you’ve asked yourself, “what questions should I ask in the interview?”

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