• Interview dress code: Common mistakes and tips for balancing professional with personal

    November 30, 2016 by

    dress code for workGuest writer Lisa Smith

    The cliché holds a lot of truth: the first impression really counts. This is why most people suggest that you dress up prim and proper for an interview. It should come as no surprise that your prospective employer starts gauging you from the time you step into the interview room.

    Many people botch up their interview just because they are unaware of the importance of interview dress code. There are a few common mistakes that you can avoid. Check out out some of the common interview dressing mistakes to ensure you don’t fall prey to these. Here is some advice to get ready for the big day:

    Fit is king:

    Before going for an interview, you spend a long time and effort in picking that perfect outfit. But what about the fit? The way your outfit fits can make a whole difference to your appearance. And this is what will gain you some precious points. If your clothes are too loose, you end up looking drab and careless. On the other hand, clothes that are too tight can make you look uncomfortable which can be misconstrued as nervousness or lack of self-confidence. So, first things first, make sure that the clothes you pick for your interview are fit you perfectly. If they don’t, take them to the tailor.

    Tone down the colors:

    Make sure you select the shades carefully. Bright colors like yellow or shocking pink are a total no-no as these tend to distract people’s gaze and are considered inappropriate. If you are thinking of going with prints and patterns, go for the subtle variety. Large prints and patterns give you a casual semblance which may not appeal to your interviewers.

    Rein in your hair:

    This can be tricky because hairstyle can be an important part of your culture. It is your choice how you want to balance professional conservatism with your personal expression. However, be aware that when it comes to an interview, your interviewer may consider some hairstyles to be a hint of non-seriousness, whether or not that is true.

    Shoes are important too:

    If you thought that you only need to pay attention to your clothes when getting ready for an interview, think again. Your shoes matter too. Though you may sit down across the table when interacting with your interviewer, he or she is bound to notice as you walk up to take your seat. Pick shoes that spell out a formal air. Men should go for leather oxfords or slip-ons. Women should stick to pumps or conservative platform heels.

    Take it easy with the perfume:

    There is no doubt that your choice of perfume speaks volumes about you. However, you don’t want to overwhelm your interviewer with its heady aroma. So, make sure that you spray only a couple of whiffs of your favorite perfume on your clothes, or skip it entirely. Heavy perfume wearers are usually frowned upon in the professional world.

     

    On the job: Balancing between personal and professional

    If you dress perfectly for your interview, you are bound to make a great first impression. This coupled with your smartness is sure to get you that much-coveted job. (Make sure to send a thank you email after an interview to the company, displaying your gratitude for the chance given to you.)

    However, once you get that job and join the company, you have to continue to strike that balance between your personal expression and professional dress code that you so carefully created for the interview. Not doing so may give out wrong messages and get you into the bad books of your employers.

    Understand the Dress Code:

    Each company has its own dress code. So, the smartest thing you can do is to understand the dress code that your organization follows. This could be quite different from the one that you are accustomed to. However, taking to this wholeheartedly is what will portray you as a smart and a quick learner. This will also be proof enough for your easy adaptability to changes.

    Creating your Own Style:

    While you need to follow the company dress code, you don’t have to be a clone of the other employees. Experiment with the dress code to create new looks which are perfect for the work environment. This is a great way to prove that you are brave enough to experiment and innovate without questioning the company policies.

    Keep your work style minimalistic yet smart. This is what will make your bosses and super bosses notice you. Your style speaks volumes about your thoughts and helps you to stand out in the crowd. So, take down this mantra and try to live up to it.

     

    lisa smithLisa is a designer by profession and writer by choice, she writes for almost all topics but design and Fashion are her favorites. Apart from these she also Volunteers at few Animal rescue centers. Connect with Lisa on LinkedIn.

     

     

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  • Interviewing student veterans

    October 11, 2016 by

     

    Are you interviewing a student veteran for a job at your company? Congrats! Veterans bring a set of skills that can stand above the other students you are interviewing.

    If you are like many hiring managers, you have limited experience interviewing vets, and are not extremely familiar with what military experience looks like. It’s important to make sure you don’t ask anything inappropriate. Here are a few tips to get the most out of your interview while remaining sensitive and legal.

    What NOT to ask

    • Unless you are hiring for a Federal agency or work with Veteran Preference Points, don’t ask about their discharge status.
    • You cannot ask if they will be deployed in the future, even if their resume says they are in the Reserves.
    • Do not ask about potential disabilities. The Americans with Disabilities Act states that an employer may only ask disability-related questions after the applicant has been offered a job.
    • “Do you have PTSD?” (First, check your biases about vets and PTSD, and second, any question that relates to their mental health is legally off limits.)
    • “Did you get hurt in combat?” or “Do you expect your injury to heal normally?”
    • “Have you ever participated in a drug or alcohol rehabilitation program?”

    Instead, you can ask…

    • Behavior-based questions that help you truly understand their previous experience
    • Questions about their goals (be smart and avoid the cliche “Where do you see yourself in the future?”)
    • “How did you deal with pressure or stress?”
    • According to the Office of Disability Employment Policy, you may ask, “Have you ever been arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol?” The answer to this question should direclty relate to their ability to perform the job.

    Veterans Day is November 11. Reach out to student veteran groups as part of your college recruitment this fall, and you may be impressed with what you find.

  • Why don’t employers get back to me when they hire someone else?

    August 18, 2016 by
    Photo courtesy of StockUnlimited.com

    Photo courtesy of StockUnlimited.com

    I wish that I had $1 for every conversation I’ve had with recruiters and other talent acquisition leaders at small, medium, and large employers about why they don’t promptly acknowledge the receipt of every application — even via automated email — and why they don’t inform all applicants that they’ve hired another candidate.

    Most of the employers state that with the added attention being given to creating a positive candidate experience that they personally get back to candidates if they’ve interviewed those candidates and use automated systems to acknowledge the receipt of resumes.

    But when you talk with candidates, you hear a very different story. Most candidates will tell you that most employers never get back to them, even when the candidate has spent hours going through round after round of interviews and sometimes even traveled at their own expense to be interviewed at the organization’s headquarters.

    There is no doubt that some organizations have a process in-place to ensure that every candidate receives an answer, good or bad. But those organizations are the exception so one candidate may be treated quite differently from another even when they’re equally well qualified and apply to the same job with the same employer.

    Why do some recruiters fail to provide bad news to candidates? There are a number of reasons. Most who admit to not getting back to candidates will claim they don’t have time, but it seems to me that we should all have enough time to send a copy-and-paste email especially to candidates who have been interviewed. It’s just basic, minimal, courteous behavior.

  • How to network in the workplace

    July 07, 2016 by
    Two businessmen talking and smiling photo by StockUnlimited.com

    Photo by StockUnlimited.com

    Congratulations on landing your new entry-level job or internship! Perhaps you landed it through networking. If so, that means you understood how to approach interacting with family, friends, and/or recruiting and talent acquisition professionals during your job search.

    Now it’s time to transition from networking to find a job to networking in the workplace. This is an opportunity to demonstrate your skills and qualities and learn from established employees who can help you along the way. Vickie Cox-Lanyon, Director of Career Services and LEEP Center Adviser at Clark University, explains how new hires should approach networking in the workplace.

    “The first step is to establish yourself as a hard-working, competent, young professional. Making a good first impression in your new role will get your colleagues’ attention and increase the likelihood they will be willing to assist in your career development. At the same time, you need to assimilate into the culture of your organization and begin to create collegial working relationships. If you begin networking too early, it may appear you are too focused on your future rather than your current role.

    Once you have established yourself, identify someone one level above you whose position or career path you’re interested in. Start with people you already know. Your goal is to secure an informational interview where you ask questions about the professional’s career trajectory and solicit advice on your potential goals. People generally like to talk about themselves and like to give advice, so you should get a positive response as long as you are polite and professional.

    Another goal of that conversation should be expanding your network by asking the professional for names of other professionals they can introduce you to. Etiquette is important in this process so remember that written communication should be formal and professional, and follow-up thank you notes are essential. Above all, be willing to listen and be open to the advice you receive.”

    Need more help with networking? Learn more on our blog and follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and YouTube.

    Vickie Cox-Lanyon, Director of Career Services / Graduate School Adviser and Assistant Director of the LEEP Center

    Vickie Cox-Lanyon, Director of Career Services / Graduate School Adviser and Assistant Director of the LEEP Center

    Vickie Cox-Lanyon is Director of Career Services / Graduate School Adviser and Assistant Director of the LEEP Center at Clark University. Cox-Lanyon provides career and academic guidance to students and alumni throughout their career development process. She has been in the field of career services since 1997 and is a member of the National Career Development Association, the National Association of Colleges and Employers, and the Liberal Arts Career Network, through which she participates in annual professional development activities. She holds a BA in Psychology from Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut and an MS in Psychology from the University of Rhode Island.

  • 7 ways to make a good impression during business dinners

    June 14, 2016 by

    Attending business dinners and professional networking events often brings on anxiety for many people, particularly college students and recent grads. It should! It’s not something most people do on a regular basis, and it requires a special skill-set. How do you remember which fork is which? Should you place your napkin next to your plate or in your chair when you stand up to shake someone’s hand? And what if you take a bite of something disgusting and need to spit it out—oh geez!?!

    The possibilities for embarrassing moments at business dinners are seemingly endless.

    If that weren’t enough, you’re most likely attending business dinners for specific purposes. You’re either attending to network with coworkers, supervisors, or potential employers, or you’re attending as part of the interview process. Either way, you’re under pressure to demonstrate your best table manners.

    This short video, hosted by College Recruiter’s Content Manager, Bethany Wallace, suggests seven quick ways to make a good impression during business dinners.


    If the video is not playing or displaying properly click here.

    1.Skip the alcohol.

    If offered alcohol, consider passing for multiple reasons. Drinking in the company of coworkers, supervisors, and potential employers can be dangerous. If you’re underage, it’s a clear no-no. If you’re of legal drinking age, it’s still questionable because you may inadvertently consume more alcohol than intended and wind up singing karaoke in the bar next door to the restaurant with your future boss watching. Need I say more?

    A good general rule to apply to business dinners is “all things in moderation.” Don’t eat too quickly. Don’t order the most expensive thing on the menu, but don’t order the cheapest item either. Don’t fill up six plates on the buffet. Don’t hog the conversation; listen as much as you talk.

    2. Don’t comment on food.

    When possible, stick to pleasant, neutral topics of conversation like family, weather, weekend plans, and hobbies. Avoid commenting on what you’re currently eating; it’s considered rude. You should also avoid discussing religion and politics, but of course, take the lead of your host and/or supervisor to an extent. If your boss engages you in political banter, you might follow her lead, but remember to tread lightly. What you say can and may be used against you at work!

    3. Try to avoid being picky or whiny.

    Unless you have a legitimate food allergy and receive items which may trigger an allergic reaction, don’t make demands or send your plate back. If you behave in a picky, demanding manner, this behavior says something about you and not about the restaurant or wait staff.

    4. Attend career services’ etiquette dinners.

    When you have the opportunity as a college student, attend etiquette dinners hosted by career services offices. These events might seem boring while you’re in college, but after you attend your first business dinner, you’ll wish you’d attend them. You’ll learn the ins and outs of formal business dinners. Sure, you can look these tricks of the trade up online and Google infographics on how to set a formal dining table, but there’s no teacher like experience. If in doubt, work your way from the outside in with flatware and take the lead of your fellow diners who seem experienced and comfortable, particularly your supervisors and potential employers. Perhaps the greatest mistake you can make is to appear really flustered and to allow your nerves to keep you from making conversation with those around you.

    5. Treat servers well.

    Be kind to the restaurant staff. There’s nothing which speaks more loudly than snobbish behavior toward servers and wait staff. Remember, what you say and don’t say—your non-verbal skills—speak loudly to your employers and future employers. Soft skills truly matter, so be kind and courteous to everyone around you.

    6. Don’t chew with your mouth open!

    This one is common sense. Don’t chew and speak simultaneously. It’s just plain gross.

    Whatever you need to say can wait until you’ve swallowed your food—promise.

    On that note, the best way to obtain great table manners is to practice them on a daily basis, so consider chewing with your mouth closed every day, even when you’re eating alone. If you don’t, you might find yourself smacking your pizza with your mouth wide open while sitting across from your potential boss. And you know that won’t impress her.

    7. Say thank you.

    As always, an attitude of gratitude always makes a great impression on others. Say thank you to your hosts, servers, to people who open the door for you, and to others who extend kindness to you during the meal. Again, it reflects well on you and your soft skills when you treat others well.

    Need more networking tips to help you obtain a great internship or entry-level job? Keep reading our blog and follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and YouTube.