Dress for Success in Job Interviews – Tips for Women, Men



First impressions are lasting impressions. They really count in your job search. This is especially true if you’re working your way up your career ladder to management or any other important position in a conservative or traditional business environment.

(True, an artistic or creative work environment is different. This article is designed for ambitious job seeking professionals in a traditional workplace.)

Additionally, it’s important to dress as though you’re interviewing for your dream position that you want five years from now.

male manager, professionalThis is also true if you’re really ambitious and want to be a CEO someday.

Since 2009, the most-frequently searched key phrases on this portal are the “differences between leaders and managers” and “how to become a CEO.”

They’re No. 1 and No. 2, respectively, month after month.

So if you’re a future CEO, here’s a memo: Dark suit colors make for an authoritative image.

A well-dressed applicant creates an image.

An interviewer at the executive level will be wondering – sometimes subconsciously – if you’re senior-management material and with enough potential to push her or him up.

The person might also be pondering whether you have what it takes to be the big boss some day.

True, the position you’re seeking might not require impeccable business attire. The interviewers know this.

But it’s better to be over-dressed than to risk being under-dressed in a job interview. I base this from countless experiences.

That includes my experience as a job-seeker or as an interviewing executive early in my career, and as a management consultant advising executives whom they should hire. I’ve never heard company executives complain about overly dressed applicants.

If anything, they appreciate well-dressed applicants. I’ve seen them hold applicants up as examples to their employees. But managers have complained when an applicant is dressed too casually.

Tips for women and men

There are a couple of tips for both women and men. Carry a briefcase with the following items:

— A couple of pens

— Note pad

— Extra copies of your resume (executives sometimes forget to bring your resume or they unexpectedly invite other company employees to join the meeting at the last minute)

— Postage

— Personalized monarch-size stationery or thank you cards

— Bottle of water and protein bar (in case you’re to wait around to stay for a second interview or a tour, which are both good signs)

You’ll want to be able to take notes. Immediately, after the interview run to the nearest post office to send a thank you note so that it arrives the next business day.

Your note should include your appreciation for the person’s consideration, your elevator pitch on why you’re a good match for the company, and a buyer’s remorse statement to make sure the interviewer won’t regret hiring you.

If you’re applying for a sales position, instead of a briefcase carry a thinner portfolio. In this way, they can more easily picture you in a role as one of the company’s salespeople.

About the cell phone, make certain the sound is off before entering the building.

Don’t wear excessive jewelry — at most, a watch and a ring.

And, oh, don’t wear a hat or sunglasses in the building.

Women

Don’t ever wear perfume.

Wear a pant suit or knee-length skirt suit. Make sure you don’t show a low neckline or reveal undergarment straps.

Your skirt hemline should reach at least the middle of your knee. You want the interviewer to know you’re all business.

Despite the trend not to wear hosiery, it doesn’t work for job interviews. Don’t assume you can under-dress. Wear flesh-tone or neutral color stockings.

Your shoes should be low-heel or high heels, but no flats, sandals, tennis shoes or flip flops. In cold weather, boots will work.

Men

Wear a dark-colored suit, such as navy, charcoal gray or black. Pinstripes are fine. For a Friday interview, you can probably wear a navy blazer with taupe or gray slacks. The fabric for the coat and slacks should match whether its wool, wool-blend or linen.

Make sure your suit fits well. Wear mid-calf-length socks so when you sit, your leg isn’t visible. The color of your socks should be dark and accessorized with the color of your slacks.

You should wear leather shoes with laces that go well with your suit. Business loafers are OK on Friday if they’re dressy.

Your shirt should be long-sleeve, either white or light blue or with a business-like pattern or stripes. Either button down or spread collar are best. If you’re high-powered, you probably know about French-cuffs.

Your tie should be silk — traditionally striped or have conservative patterns and colors. Make sure the tie is a suitable style and color for your shirt and jacket.

From the Coach’s Corner, related interview tips:

Praying for a Job? Key Questions to Ask Interviewers — Employers prefer inquisitive applicants. It shows their interest in a company and communication abilities. There are two benefits if you ask the right questions in a job interview. Firstly, you shine compared to your competing job seekers. Secondly, you get the right information to make the best decision.

3 Best Interview Strategies for a Promotion in Your Company — So your company has an opening that would mean a promotion for you. Great. But make sure you prepare properly to avoid disappointment. To get the job you must interview well. Here are best practices to ensure your odds for success.

HR – Interviewers Give Higher Marks to Applicants Interviewed Early in the Day — Interviewers often mistakenly give higher ratings to job job seekers – whom they interview early in the day – at the expense of other applicants. That’s one of the conclusions from research of 10 years of data from more than 9,000 MBA interviews.

Chit-chat in Negotiations Pays off More for Men than Women — FYI, some small talk just before a negotiation provides a boost for men but not women, according to academic researchers. So, if you’re a man, a little chit-chat before the serious discussion helps you make a better impression for better results. But it’s just the opposite if you’re a woman. Men benefit 6 percent more than women.

Multiple Job Offers? Ask the Right Questions to Win in Your Career — Suddenly, you’ve got choices — several companies have said “We want to hire you.” Now, what do you do? Here are five strategies for career success.

Money can’t buy happiness, but it sure makes misery easier to live with.


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Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.






Job Hunters: Why The Mirroring Thing Won’t Work



With one out of six men aged 25-54 unable to find jobs and countless others under-employed, the average American workweek is on 34.5 hours. So many job seekers are panicking to find ways to get a job.

That includes using a technique to mirror the demeanor of interviewers.

However, psychological research confirms the people-pleasing tactic of  mimicking interviewers – in posture or gestures – is a bad idea. Don’t copycat the interviewer. Your reputation will suffer.

Shocked At The Man In The Mirror (http://www.public-domain.zorger.com)

Mirroring is an unproductive strategy, especially in front of two or more interviewers. That’s the advice from a 2011 University of California, San Diego study.

“Mimicry is a crucial part of social intelligence,” says the study’s co-author, psychological scientist Piotr Winkielman in a press statement. “But it is not enough to simply know how to mimic. It’s also important to know when and when not to.”

His research colleagues included psychological scientist Liam Kavanagh, and philosophers Chris Suhler and Patricia Churchland.

They conducted videotaped experiments of interviews. As a result, observers concluded the interviewees were incompetent, untrustworthy and unlikable.

Professor Winkielman acknowledges mimicry is considered acceptable in certain social settings. But not in the workplace.

Professor Winkielman acknowledges mimicry is considered acceptable in certain social settings. But not in the workplace.

“…it’s good to have the capacity to mimic, but an important part of social intelligence is knowing how to deploy this capacity in a selective, intelligent, context-dependent manner,” he explains. “Sometimes the socially intelligent thing to do is not to imitate.”

For job hunters, here are seven key traits:

  • Research your prospective employer
  • Be transparent in your answers
  • Demonstrate value, and in some situations remember employers want critical thinkers
  • Show your soft skills, and flexibility
  • Act with confidence, including strong eye contact
  • Dress professionally
  • Smile

From the Coach’s Corner, here are five job-hunting resource links: 

Discouraged in Job Hunting? Powerful Tips for the Best Job — Whether unemployed or under-employed, a person needs two things: A sense of hope and the right tools to negotiate a job. Here are both.

Job Hunting? Tips to Land Your Dream Job with Style, Substance — Yes, the competition for jobs is ferocious. Unless you’re in accounting, healthcare, mechanical-repair or proficient in sales, good jobs are hard to find. Hopefully, you’ve honed your networking skills and are getting interviews. But there are tips to considers.

Study: Best Way to Get a Job Isn’t by Networking — Job experience counts more than whom you know, according to a nationwide survey of job hunters by Beyond.com. Networking with contacts was cited as most-important by fewer than 20 percent of the respondents.

Career Advice — An Alternative to Applying for Jobs Online — As a job-hunter you know that a significant number of companies, nonprofits and public-sector agencies use an online tracking system to accept applications and screen out applicants. It cuts down on their paper work and saves them time. If you must apply for jobs online, you can take steps to stand out from the competing applicants to sail through human-resources filtering systems.

Multiple Job Offers? Ask the Right Questions to Win in Your Career — The words every job seeker wants to hear: “We want you.” You’re no exception. You’ve been on a nerve-racking job hunt, and at long last the search is over. Suddenly, you’ve got choices — several companies have said “We want to hire you.” It’s an enviable situation, but now your real work begins.

“Any fact facing us is not as important as our attitude toward it, for that determines our success or failure.”

Norman Vincent Peale

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Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry. 

Seattle business consultant Terry Corbell provides high-performance management services and strategies.