Archive for the ‘Interview Preparation’ Category

Oct 21 2011

What to Wear to an Interview

Deciding what to wear to an interview isn’t as simple as it used to be.   With the advent of “business casual”, what to wear to an interview has gotten a bit more complicated.

1) Dress a notch above.   In general, you want to dress a little bit nicer than the way you would be required to dress if you get the job.   So, if you’re applying for a position that requires you to get dirty and wear a uniform, you don’t need to dress in a suit.   Slacks and a sweater or perhaps a blazer would be fine.   Similarly, if you’ll be wearing a suit everyday, wear a good suit and shirt.   First impressions count.

2) Look the part.   If you’re interviewing for a position at a bank, visible tattoos and lots of piercings are probably not a good idea.   On the other hand, if you’re interviewing for a job in a tattoo parlor, tattoos are probably required!   If you are interviewing for a position in a creative workplace, you probably have a bit more room to show some flair and dressing too conservatively could hurt your chances.   Dress to fit in to the workplace, but avoid extremes.   Ladies, no low cut dresses.   Men, avoid loud ties.

3) If in doubt, go conservative.   If you’re not sure what the dress code is like at the workplace, there are a number of things you can do.  Ask someone who works there or who used to work there (look on LinkedIn to see if you have someone in your network).   Look at their website to see what type of public image the company displays.   If they show pictures of guys in suits and white shirts, it’s probably a conservative workplace.    If you live near the company, you can go to their parking lot around closing time and see what people are wearing.

4) Use common sense about accessories.   I once didn’t hire someone because of her earrings.   Before you get angry at me, I was hiring someone to watch my young school-age children.   She showed up with earrings in the shape of the word “SEXY” in large letters.  If she had been the absolute best candidate, could I have overlooked the earrings?  Perhaps.  But, to me, it told me that she didn’t have a lot of common sense.  Think about your audience when dressing for your interview.

5)  Be well groomed.   Above all, you need to be well groomed.   Make sure your clothes fit well and that they’re clean and pressed.   Polish your shoes, make sure your nails and hair are clean and nicely styled.    Avoid heavy perfume or aftershave.   If you smoke, make sure your clothes don’t smell like it.   Employers don’t like hiring smokers and they’ll be able to tell if you had a cigarette right before your interview.

When you’re interviewing for a job, employers are looking for people who will represent their company well and who will fit into the company culture.   Keep that in mind and make sure that what you wear doesn’t make you stand out for the wrong reasons.

Happy hunting!

Sep 5 2011

Free Expert Advice for Job Seekers

Ultimate Job Summit

I was recently selected to participate in a new on-line resource that will be available for job seekers starting today, September 5, 2011 – the Ultimate Job Summit.   This site is the brainchild of Nate Lind, who was unemployed but went from being unemployed to earning 6 figures in 6 months.   He wanted to share the lessons he learned and some of the best advice he used during his job search.   So, he interviewed eight consultants in a variety of areas and is making those interviews available for free for one month.   Each of the consultants interviewed is providing freebies, discounts and special offers to summit participants.   By signing up, you will have access to the discounts provided as well as 8 hours of expert advice that you can access for free at your convenience.

Now, I am one of the people interviewed, but even if I wasn’t, I think it’s a good deal.   You get over 8 hours of free advice from experts who charge good money for their time – so that part alone is worth at least $800.    And, each expert has made special offers available only to those who sign up for the summit.

So, check it out by going to www.ultimatejobsummit.com.    I hope you find it to be a helpful resource – and I’d love to hear your feedback about it!

 

Aug 24 2011

Finding Target Companies

Most career coaches recommend that you identify target companies to help you focus your job search.   In general, I agree with this advice.   Having a list of target companies can help you in a number of ways:

1) Networking:  You can focus your networking efforts on organizations that you think are a good fit.  Networking with current and past employees of your target companies helps you learn more about their challenges and company culture.

2) Research:  Your research time can be aimed at a shorter list of potential employers.  You can set up a schedule to check the company website for job postings, follow the company on LinkedIn, and review the company website.   You can set up news alerts in Google so that when your target companies are mentioned, you will be informed.

3) Advance Interview Preparation:  When you interview with a target company, you will already know what is happening at the company, how you can help them and why you want to work for them.  And, hopefully, you’ll have some inside contacts in place.

4) Hidden Job Market: If you do a proper job of networking, your inside contacts will let you know before positions are posted and recommend you to the hiring manager.   Companies want you to want them, so showing interest BEFORE jobs are posted can never hurt.

Now, there are some drawbacks to having a list of target companies.   Many people I meet have an impossibly long list of “target companies” which makes it difficult to focus.  At that point, the list becomes a “wish list” not a target list.  I suggest having no more than 25 companies on your target list, with ten that you concentrate on at any one time.   Those top ten companies can change as you learn more about each of them, but if you keep the list manageable you’ll be able to spend the time to truly understand their needs and challenges.

So, how do you find these target companies?

I recommend that my clients use Zoominfo as a first step when looking for target companies (www.zoominfo.com).   The site is quite easy to use and enables you to quickly find companies in your area and industry whether or not they have any jobs posted.   Click here for a handout on how to find target companies using Zoominfo.