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Posted April 19, 2016 by

7 interview appearance tips

Did you know that 65% of employers admit that clothing can be the deciding factor between similar candidates in the hiring process?

Apparently what you wear—and your overall interview appearance—really matters. It’s important to plan ahead for your interview, and that includes thinking about your interview appearance from head to toe. No one wants to wake up the morning of an interview, hitting snooze too many times to the point of having to skip a shower, yanking the first presentable outfit out of the closet, dreading the interview the entire time. That’s really setting yourself up for interview failure.

Set yourself up for interview success instead by watching this video featuring College Recruiter’s Content Manager, Bethany Wallace. You’ll learn seven simple ways to enhance your interview appearance.


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

1.. Research the position, the company, and the career field.

Expectations for interview appearance and attire vary based on these criteria. If you’re interviewing in a super casual work environment, you can get away with wearing business casual attire (slacks, blouse, and flats). However, if you’re interviewing at a large corporation for a management position, you better don a business suit. Doing your homework and understanding the corporate culture in advance will help you avoid major interview appearance mistakes. If  your homework doesn’t help you make a clear decision, stop by the career services office on campus and ask for advice.

2. If in doubt, err on the side of conservative and classy. Translation: wear a suit.

If you aren’t sure what to wear, and your research yields few clear results, wear a suit. It’s better to dress up than to dress down for a job interview. Your future employer will most likely be impressed that you took time and energy to invest in your interview appearance.

If you wear a business suit, be sure it’s clean, pressed, and tailored. If you can’t afford to have it dry cleaned, clean it yourself on the gentle cycle and iron it carefully on the lowest setting. Have it tailored to fit you (or hem it yourself if necessary), but do not wear a suit with cuffs that are too long and too-long hemlines. This makes you look like you’re wearing your grandma’s suit, and that’s not a cute look for anyone.

3. Don’t blow your budget on interview attire.

As a college student or recent grad, you simply can’t afford to spend hundreds of dollars on an expensive suit or interview outfit. Be savvy and scour consignment stores for great deals on secondhand suits in excellent shape. Try to find suits that are still considered modern or fashionable, though, if possible. You don’t want to sport a look that was popular three decades ago.

4. Clean up.

Don’t sleep late the morning of an interview. Take a shower and practice good hygiene in every way. Clean hair, nails, and teeth let your interviewers know that you take pride in your interview appearance as well as minor details—and this lets them know you’ll take pride in the work you’ll do for them if hired. Skip heavy doses of cologne and perfume, and avoid exposure to cigarette smoke before a job interview.

5. Avoid excessive everything.

Flashy jewelry, sparkly eyeshadow, dangly earrings, bold neckties, colorful patterns, and fun socks are all great ways to demonstrate your personality in everyday life. Skip these over-the-top accessories when dressing for your interview, though. Neutral colors and subtle patterns (or solid colors) are better choices for suits and clothing items. When choosing jewelry, shoes, and accessories, think classic.

6. Put the focus on you, not your appearance.

By taking the previous tips into consideration, you’ll allow yourself the freedom to relax. This will help potential employers to focus on YOU, not your appearance. You won’t be fidgeting or fighting your own outfit. Instead, your future boss will notice your soft skills, your ability to work the room, your great laugh, and your attention to details when answering questions and responding to others.

You never want recruiters to remember the way you fixed your hair the day of an interview. You always want them to remember the reasons you listed for why they should hire you.

7. Remember that if you’re not comfortable and confident, you can’t focus on the content of your conversation with your future employer.

Lastly, choose clothing and accessories you feel completely comfortable and confident wearing. If you feel constrained or awkward, it will show in your facial expressions and body language, and that won’t win you any brownie points. You want to appear alert, focused, and grateful for the opportunity to be interviewed. If you’re thinking about how tight your jacket is, whether your pants are going to rip when you stand up or sit down, or how large the blister is on your right foot while you’re touring the job facility, you will certainly not have a Zen quality about you.

Write a great resume, apply for jobs, and prepare well for interviews. Be sure to follow us on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube for regular job search assistance and for more Tuesday Tip videos and articles like this.

 

 

Posted January 12, 2016 by

3 steps to a flawless telephone interview [video]

 

With travel costs skyrocketing and recruitment budgets shrinking, telephone interviews and online interviews are becoming more common. If you’re a recent college graduate, and this news scares the pants off you, keep calm and read on.

Relying solely on your words to carry you through an interview can feel a bit intimidating. Even traditional face-to-face interviews feel intimidating when you’re a newbie. With a little practice and lots of preparation, you’ll become a pro.

Watch our 5-minute overview of a simple 3-step process to a flawless telephone interview:

If the video is not playing or displaying properly, click here to watch on YouTube.

1. Schedule the interview and set reminders

It’s helpful to schedule telephone interviews because you won’t be sawing logs in your sleep when the phone rings and catches you off guard. You’ll be alert, prepared, and much more likely to perform well during phone interviews if you schedule them.

Another important part of scheduling telephone interviews is knowing who’s calling whom. If you’re calling your interviewer, set a reminder in your phone, and keep your phone charged and with you so you’ll hear the reminder/alarm. And don’t forget one other important thing—contact information for your interviewer. It’s best to have two ways to contact your interviewer in case one phone number doesn’t work that day or technology fails you. Obtain both your interviewer’s phone number and email address if possible.

Related: Phone interview questions and answers

2. Prepare

Tursk Aleksandra/Shutterstock.com

There are several ways to prepare well for telephone interviews. Let’s hit the high points.

Above all, prepare for a phone interview the same way you’d prepare for any other interview—reviewing basic interview questions, researching the company, getting a good night’s sleep the night before, etc.

Telephone interviews are a different animal, though, than face-to-face interviews, so let’s focus on how to prepare specifically for phone interviews versus face-to-face interviews.

Related: How to respond to the 5 most basic interview questions

Ensure you have all documentation and sources you might want to refer to during the phone interview on hand and available. This should include a copy of your resume, cover letter, digital portfolio, and company website. Be sure to send copies of said documents in advance as well (resume, cover letter, and portfolio link).

Related: Latest rules for resume writing from expert career counselor

Prepare a distraction-free zone. Schedule your call at a time and in a location free from as many sounds as possible, including children, friends, romantic partners, other students, coworkers, cars, etc. Even if you are great at zoning out and focusing on conversations, your interviewer might not be, and there’s no faster way to turn off a potential future employer than to schedule your phone interview and force your interviewer to try to compete for your attention or discern your voice from five others in the background. It’s also best to eliminate visual distractions from your sight. Give yourself the gift of focus during your telephone interview.

Keep a bottle or glass of water handy, but don’t consume too much. You can’t pause the interview for a restroom break, and you don’t want to cause yourself any discomfort which would distract you either. And by all means, don’t crunch and munch on snacks during your interview, chew gum, or eat candy. Noises like this are amplified over the phone, and you don’t want to come across like a chipmunk on the other end.


TIP: Make sure to supplement your online job search with networking. Once you get guidance from your network, target your online search to the right job titles and companies. After you apply, follow up with someone who works there. College Recruiter lists thousands of entry-level job opportunities. Would it make sense to start searching?


3. Communicate as if face-to-face, but remember you’re not

When you smile, stand up, nod your head, and sit up straight, you sound more positive, energetic, and focused. This is probably the way you would carry yourself physically if you were interviewing face-to-face, so sit/stand this way while interviewing by phone, too. If you’re physically able, standing up while conducting a phone interview, at least periodically, is usually a good idea. It helps you maintain a higher energy level, and believe it or not, it’s conveyed in your voice tone.

Related: How recent grads can ace the second interview

Conduct yourself as if you’re face-to-face, smiling and doing all these little things (honing your non-verbal skills) while on the telephone interview, but remember you’re not face-to-face—your interview can only hear your words and the tone of your voice. Be sure to enunciate clearly and use words you’re familiar with to avoid mispronounced words.

If you follow these 3 simple steps—scheduling and setting reminders, preparing, and communicating as if face-to-face—your telephone interview is bound to succeed.