Ever hugged an employer during a job interview? What about calling your wife and asking what you’re having for dinner? How about being asked to be paid under the table?
If you think these are fabricated examples of how some candidates act in job interviews, you’re wrong! According to a recent survey, many job seekers make interview blunders that could cost them the job. Though some are not as extreme as the above examples, there are others that can cause red flags.
Let’s explore some of the more common interview stigmas, and what candidates can do to solve them beforehand.
(1) The Underprepared Job Seeker
This job seeker doesn’t seem to have their professional life in gear. Not only did they forget their portfolio, they also failed to research the organization, don’t know anything about the interviewer, and can’t name off their last three accomplishments. In fact, 34 percent of employers believe that not providing specific examples and vague responses are huge mistakes.
How to be prepared: Do your research before you step into the interview. This includes looking up company and industry information, as well as delving into your past accomplishments. The combination of these will show your interest in the job, as well as your value.
(2) The Stumbler
It’s perfectly normal to be nervous during a job interview. However, it goes beyond normalcy when your nervousness masks why you’re a great candidate. Stumbling through every question can make you seem uninformed about the position and the industry. Though this may not be the case, the interviewer may not know you outside of your initial meeting. First impressions mean that much more.
How to avoid stumbling: Be confident! There’s a reason why you got the interview in the first place. Again, being nervous is normal. Practicing with a colleague or a mentor can help you combat those nerves and avoid stumbling through questions.
(3) The Unenthusiastic Interviewee
HR managers love a candidate with some enthusiasm. In fact, appearing disinterested in the position is the number-one turn-off. After all, why would an employer hire a candidate who seems to have zero interest in the job? Disinterest from the beginning doesn’t bode well for the organization, as well as the performance of the employee.
How to be enthusiastic: Enthusiasm stems from an interest in the industry and the job. So, if you’re not feeling those things from the get-go, you may want to apply to other positions. If you are passionate about the company, try doing some research on the organization, which can help you to pinpoint why you want to work there in the first place. This knowledge will be reflected in the interview.
(4) The Inappropriately-Dressed Candidate
According to the survey, 60 percent of job candidates were dressed inappropriately in interviews. As I previously stated, first impressions mean a lot in a job interview, especially if you don’t have a prior connection with the interviewer. So, for the employer, what they see may equate to what they get. Unkempt hair, shabby clothes, or loud colors may reflect negatively on you, which is particularly troublesome in a job market where employers can just move on to one of the many other applicants.
How to dress appropriately: If you have to question your attire, it may be best to change it up. A good rule of thumb is to dress conservatively, such as a pantsuit or business attire. Put some personality in your wardrobe as well. A lightly colored shirt or blouse underneath a blazer or nice piece of jewelry or tie can make your outfit pop, helping you to stand out from others.
Though interviewing can be tough game, getting through some common stigmas will help you to win over the employer. So, be prepared, avoid stumbling, be enthusiastic, and dress well. The outcome of your interview will likely be a positive one if you do so.
What do you think? What are some other interview stigmas and how can you get over them?
Alan Carniol is the Founder of InterviewSuccessFormula.com an online job interview training system. Learn more here. Or, follow Alan and Interview Success Formula on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
While many North Easterners were braving out Winter Storm Nemo tucked away safely inside, some job seekers might not have been so lucky. Unfortunately, the job search doesn’t always come to a halt when bad weather strikes and trudging out into the elements becomes inevitable. Since looking your best is a crucial element to any successful interview, be sure to follow these simple fashion tips so the weather will not put a damper on your big day.
Preparation is key!
As with most aspects of the job search, preparation is essential when is come to an interview and this means checking the weather prior to selecting your interview outfit. Being unprepared and dressing inappropriately for the weather could lead to an untidy look. Once you know the weather, it is easy to plan you outfit and accessories.
Judge a book by its cover
First impressions are everything in the job search and it starts the moment you walk in the door. Depending on the season and your climate, the right coat and accessories can help you get off to a great start.
Coats and Trenches- A Pea coat and/or a trench coat are great staples for both men and women. Many of these coats have zip in hoods or linings which can lead to an easy transition into any season. Choose a neutral color (Black, Navy Blue, Tan) and be sure to pay close attention to the fit.
Hats, Gloves & Scarves – Use these items to show off your personality without going overboard. You want all the items to match each other and compliment the coat you are wearing.
Put your best foot forward
No matter the distance, traveling by foot in bad weather is simply a pain. A simple answer to this problem is to invest in shoe covers. Shoe covers are a fairly in expensive and can save your nice shoes from being ruined due to rain or snow. These slip ons are perfect for interviews as they go right over your shoe ( heels included!) and can be easily stored in your bag upon arrival.
Less is more
When it comes to your actual interview outfit, the best advice is to keep it simple. If you stick to the basics, you are sure turn up looking put together no matter the weather. A job interview is not the time (especially in bad weather) to try out the latest fashion trend. A classic suit in a neutral color is always best for men. Women can go with a pant suit in a neutral color as well or opt for a pencil skirt with a blazer to compliment it. Keep in mind that fit is extremely important! If your jacket, pants or shirt are too loose or too tight, the overall professional image may be ruined.
Jessica Scotland is currently a Talent Specialist for TheLadders FitFinder program where she assists recruiters in finding well-fitted candidates to fit their specific needs. She is also a Certified Professional Career Coach (CPCC) and has assisted job seekers of all levels.
New York Fashion Week is underway, and many of us are trying to figure out how to incorporate the latest season's trends into our work wardrobe. The work dress code is enough of a landmine as it is, with its myriad variations and elusive interpretations, that it is no wonder that sometimes the last thing employees (or even executives) dare to do is tread the changing waters of trends. But there is something to be said for having a little fun with and, believe it or not, expressing a little personality through, one’s work clothes. While there is no scripted recipe to do so, below are some ideas that bring it as close to a science as possible.
Accessorizing can be the least expensive and lowest-commitment way to channel a trend.
Women. Wrap a snake print belt around a conservative pair of dark women’s pants. Hang a collar necklace, arguably one of the biggest trends of the season, above a neutral-colored blouse. Refrain from mixing one too many attention-grabbing pieces all at once, lest you end up channeling a Christmas tree. Easy does it.
Men. Add a pocket square in a commanding hue or eye-catching print to a solid men’s suit. Wear a tie, a pair of cufflinks, a wristwatch or carry a briefcase that showcases your taste, but remember it must be tasteful (this is not an endorsement of humorous ties).
2. Incorporate Colors and Prints.
Flip through a fashion magazine or online fashion blog to identify which colors or prints strike your fancy.
Women. A floral print scarf tied above an ivory blouse or a paisley cardigan over a solid shirt injects life into a drab outfit without hijacking your work look. Pops of color can also feature in your accessories, like an emerald blue statement necklace.
Men. Show you are in tune with the bold-color trend by donning a pair of fuchsia socks with a dark gray suit and black leather shoes. Pocket squares and ties are a great canvas for brighter colors and prints, while dress shirts can play this role if the trend is dark or muted, like a forest green or pale pink.
3. Consider Fabrics and Cuts.
Signing on to a trend in fabric or cut takes the most commitment, as it requires you to add another jacket or bottom to your repertoire.
Women. Take a work pant collection consisting mostly of straight-leg pants and raise it up a notch by adding a pair of skinny pants or wide-leg pants. Similarly, a high-waist skirt and a full skirt can enhance a collection of interchangeable work skirts. Switch up a regular blazer or suit jacket by putting into rotation a menswear-inspired jacket, a feminine cropped jacket or, this season’s favorite, a peplum jacket.
Men. In a business casual environment (where matching suit jackets are not required), opt for jackets made of tweed or corduroy, or with a trendy print, like herringbone or tartan. Incorporate various textures through ties and tie knots that range from small to Windsor thick.
When all is said and done, your outfit should still be a work outfit. Your heels should not tower out of work-mode and into club territory, your blouse should not have a plunging neckline, your ties and other accessories should be tasteful. If you manage to mix in a trend subtly and avoid a case of the “blahs” in the morning, then consider your job well done. Showing that you’ve thought twice about your work wardrobe doesn’t make you frivolous, it shows that you see it as an essential part of your identity, precisely because you are committed to your career.
Rosa Mae Neel is an attorney who founded Prune, a resource and blog providing professionals style advice for their career advancement. She holds a J.D. and a B.S. in journalism, and is a member of the New York City Bar. Be sure to follow @Prune_Me on Twitter and "Like" Prune on Facebook for more workplace style advice.
I am so glad my schedule opened up so that I could accept the invitation to speak at Job Central, Presented by TheLadders, in the fabulous Grand Central Terminal in NYC.
Grand Central and the surrounding streets were filled with job seekers looking for advice, connections and of course, jobs. There were plenty of recruiters there as well, hoping to find the right candidates for their organizations.
I enjoyed listening to another presenter, and author, Dr. Woody who offered career advice for today's challenging economy and job market. He encouraged the audience to network more and not be afraid of going up to someone you don't know and striking up a conversation that could very possibly lead to a job, referral or more business.
I totally agree, and would add that by dressing in a flattering manner along with some great accessories, an important business connection might actually approach you first!
My career advice presentation, titled Looking Your Best for Business Success, focused on the importance of personal image, and how and why it makes such a big difference in a person's career. I gave six tips that were simple to follow and easy to implement, so that a person's wardrobe will work for them and not against them.
Job seekers, entrepreneurs, and all professionals should use their personal image to promote their expertise and brand; not distract from them. If you don't like how you look and feel in your clothes, you will be wasting your time and energy on being unhappy and insecure about your appearance instead of focusing on what you have to offer.
Each person who I saw and met with at Job Central, had something to offer and was at the right place to get valuable career tips and connections.
For more tips and information, please visit ScarlettImage.com.
Scarlett De Bease is a professional Image Consultant and Wardrobe Stylist, who specializes in creating wardrobes for her clients that allows them to look and feel their best for every occasion, and on any budget. She has been in the fashion and cosmetic industries for over 20 years, always with the goal of helping her clients realize their full potential. Access Scarlett's presentation here.
Dressing for work in the summer can be tricky with temperamental weather both inside and outside of the office. Will the heat index rise above 90 degrees? Is the AC working? Here are a few ideas for what to wear and what not to wear when the temperature is rising but you still have to look cool and professional in the workplace.
Foot flare: Women should stick to modest heels in classic shapes such as pointy toe or wedges that are easy to walk in. Peep toe shoes are acceptable as long as your feet are clean and manicured. Wear a comfortable pair of flats on the way to the office, but remember to put your heels on before entering the building. Men should stay away from sandals, flip flops and loafers without socks.
How short is too short? Make sure that your skirt length is at least as long as your fingers when your arms are stretched down your side. Keep your fingers flat – no cheating! The length can be adjusted depending on your work environment.
No tank or halter tops: Employers typically recommend against wearing tank tops around the office, depending on the work environment. Halter tops are off limits. Spring fabrics such as linens or cotton blends are a good alternative. If you decide to wear a sleeveless shirt, remember to bring along a blazer or lightweight cardigan to cover your arms.
Feeling the transit heat: You will quickly feel the effects of the summer heat whether mass transit, driving or walking is your preferred form of transportation to and from work. Remove one article of clothing on your way to the office to prevent excessive perspiration or overheating. Remember to put your jacket or cardigan back on before arriving to maintain a professional appearance.
Quick cool down: Leave yourself enough time for a 5-minute cool down before sitting at your desk or walking into an early morning meeting. Splash cold water on your face, fix your makeup, brush your hair and adjust your clothing.
Tip for the ladies: Carry a medium sized canvas bag or tote for your heels on the way to the office, makeup and a climate control hair product to tame those locks.
As a general rule, Angela Romano Kuo, Vice President of Human Resources here at TheLadders.com and our very own fashion guru, says “You never want to wear something that can be distracting, so if you have to think twice about it—skip it.” If you still find yourself thinking twice about your outfit for the day, consult our list above. Remember that not all wardrobe choices "work" for work, before you head to the office.