Ahhh, job interviews. It’s the one thing that always sets a corporate warrior into fright mode. Every year, millions of workers looking for greener pastures send out resumes to employers—a quarter of which will be eligible for a chance to pass the dreaded job interview.
This is part two of the article. To read part 1, click here.
3. Dress to impress
Clothes will always set the tone the moment you enter the interview room. Consider yourself as a gift and your clothes as the gift wrapper. A beautiful gift wrapper makes the receiver excited, and more so when the quality of content matches the wrapper too! Aim to look sharp on this special day as it might change your interviewer’s mood and impressions. Indeed, we don’t exaggerate when we say that looks can kill.
Millennial stylist, Dette Lindres, (www.dettelindres.com) who offers personal branding services to yuppies suggests that your choice of color is critical: white, black and blue are best suited for management positions because they convey leadership and power. Purple and pastel colors meanwhile convey creativity suited for artistic jobs. “Avoid loud colors like yellow or orange which can make you look unprofessional,” she adds. Finally, stick to classics: long-sleeved pinstripes and black slacks for males, and blouse with A-line skirt ensemble for women. Wearing your favorite or lucky shirt that makes you comfortable also helps.
4. Clean up your social media profile
When we say “clean up,” we assume that everyone in this world has his fair share of incriminating posts on the Internet. Beware that HR recruiters check candidates’ profile online and judge you based on what they see. Yes, first impressions are wrong but, first impressions also last, so do your part to make a good one. Do you have a public video on YouTube featuring your awesome drunk-dancing moves? Delete those. Did you just describe yourself as “Beyonce’s bootylicious twin” on your Twitter profile? Change that too, please. Customizing your online profile to position yourself to a target audience is called ORP (Online Reputation Management) which you can do either by yourself, or by hiring a professional social media expert. Don’t have a Linked-In account yet or have one that’s incomplete with no profile picture? That’s part of ORP too that you shouldn’t miss.
5. Ask and talk back
A job interview should never be a one-way street. You’re not just here to be tested by the interviewer, you’re also here to find out if the job is the right one for you (unless you’re desperate for a job which is a different story altogether). There are many jobs out there that are advertised with beautiful adjectives but aren’t really what they promise to be. This is your golden opportunity to find out its authenticity. Consider asking the following questions:
- What is the work culture in the company?
- How big is this department and who will I report to? What is the scope of work of my potential boss?
- What is expected of the employee in her first 90 days at work?
- What are other career opportunities in the company should I succeed in this role?
You will unlikely get indirect answers, but it is your duty to get clues about the position you’re taking. Will your working style match with the people? Is this a newly-created position that the company is experimenting on? Did someone resign perhaps because there was just too much on her plate? Or did she leave a bad boss that’s just waiting for his next victim like you? Is this really a marketing job or a sales job disguised as “marketing”? How much time will I be spending in the office or in the field? Remember that this is your only window of opportunity to know your employer and your job intimately before you say yes, so milk it!
When you’re done with the interview
After you’ve sweated it out, don’t forget to ask the interviewer for the next steps: will someone contact you to give feedback, or should you follow-up in a week’s time otherwise? There will be polite recruiters who generously inform you via e-mail about the results and there will be some who expect you to understand that silence means “I’m sorry”. The key is to have an understanding that everyone’s time is important, and making someone wait (for nothing) is simply rude.
Finally, it is never the end of the world if you fail an interview. Just like love, there are many factors to consider why both of you were never meant to be. As long as you’ve done your best to prepare, use the defeat as a means to fuel your hunger to ace the next one. The worst thing to do is to lose hope immediately on Day 1 even if there are plenty of fish in the sea. And when you’re all primed and ready, say it with me: “I’m a gladiator. A gladiator in a suit.” Good luck!