Tag Archives: interview

A Common Sense Guide to Dressing For Interviews (from a fashion hating guy)

If you do any reasearch at all on how to dress for an interview your head will bobble, your eyes will glaze, and you might actually go insane.

i hate fashion

You hear wear this jewelry but not that, wear this color but not that one, don’t wear this shoe with that sock. Really?!?!?!

All it takes is a little common sense to look good and show your best when you put your skills and knowledge on display. To help, here are eight rules of what to (and not to) wear if you want to put yourself ahead of the game:

1) Dress your age. If you are 18 don’t dress like your 50 and if you are 50 don’t dress like your 18.

2) Dress your body type. Some clothes just don’t look good on some people because said clothes were not made for that person’s body type.

3) Dress the role. Don’t wear a $3,000 suit to an entry-level customer service interview and don’t look like you just rolled out of bed if you are looking for an executive role.

4) Don’t wear skinny jeans or any other pants with the word skinny in them. I am no fashion expert but skinny jeans are the worst fashion idea ever and whoever wears them to an interview (or skinny slacks, skinny khaki’s, etc if they even have those) deserve to not pass.

5) Look like you actually attempted to look  nice. Take a shower, brush your hair, brush your teeth, iron your shirt and pants, tie your shoe laces. Look like you actually care.

6) Leave the sunglasses in your car. If you wear sunglasses inside your interview you deserved to be dismissed on the spot.

7) Don’t dress like a vampire or like you are Neo from ‘The Matrix’. Yes, it has actually happened.

8) It’s not Saturday night, it’s not your favorite club, dress accordingly. Enough said.

Now that you know to look your age and not dress like a character from a movie you are ready to tackle figuring out why you are the best candidate for the role.

Until next time – good hunting and good luck!


Eight Sure Fire Ways You Are Screwing Up Your Job-Search

There are as many ways to find a job as the day is long and over my career in helping folks do just that I belive I have seen just about all of them. On the flip side, there are as many ways to screw up a job-search and today we are going to highlight eight of them.

  1. A recruiter / employer knows before they even post a job opening that you are going to be one of the first to apply. I think if most recruiters are being honest they know exactly who is going to apply to a position before they even post it. In fact, a recruiter friend recently told me that he was hesitant on broadcasting a role because he was starting to feel bad telling the same people no every time.
  2. A recruiter / hiring manager knows your phone number as soon as it pops up on caller id. Congrats you have moved from candidate to stalker. I would lay off of the following up a little bit and give the recruiter / hiring manager a bit of time to make decisions and move the process along.
  3. You are not easily found online. If you are looking for a job your information needs to be findable on LinkedIn, through Google, on Twitter, on Facebook, and on the job-boards (even if you just post a confidential resume). Recruiters are hunters, you are the prey, and if you cannot be found you  are going to make life much harder for yourself.
  4. You think that your resume and ability to interview are second to none. There is not much I can say here other than a reality check is needed.
  5. You have not worked on growing your network. Simple rule to remember – either network or don’t work. The reason that so many people say to network as part of your job-search activities is BECAUSE IT WORKS!
  6. Your computer and / or Oprah is your best friend. Get out from in front of your computer, turn Oprah off, and re-review number five.
  7. You have not worked to keep your skills current / improve your skills while you have in search. One of my favorite questions to ask is, “What are you doing to keep your skills current and up to date” and I am always shocked and appalled by the number of times I hear ‘nothing’ or complete silence. Your skill-set is a living, breathing thing. If you don’t feed it, it will die.
  8. Your phone feels like you have deserted it. Go back and review number five. If you are not working the phones you need to review your whole job-search strategy.

Hopefully none of these eight things apply to your search but if any of them are a review of how you are conducting your search should be had (like right now).

What would you add to this list? It could end up 100 long for sure – look forward to your thoughts and comments.

Until next time – good hunting and good luck!

The Best Interview Advice Ever

Is what you are about to read really the absolute best interview advice ever? No, but I had to get you to read this post though, right?

Now that we are being honest with each other there are three keys that I think can help you improve how you perform when interviewing:

  1. An interview is just a conversation – nothing more, nothing less. I know some people who get so worked up about interviews that they get to the point of having a nervous breakdown. It is vital that you remember that at the end of the day an interview is nothing more than you having a conversation with someone else about why they should be interested in hiring you and why you should be interested in working there.There are going to be some questions that you have good answers to and others that you don’t (just like a normal conversation). There are going to be lulls in the conversation (just like a normal conversation). There are some people you are going to connect with better than others (just like normal conversations).
  2. At the end of the day you are either going to get the job or not get the job.I know that is much easier to say when you have a job than when you are unemployed but at the end of the day it is the truth and all you can do is what you can do. If you are the best candidate you will get an offer and if not there are other opportunities that you can go after.If you get the offer great – it was meant to be and if you don’t that interview was practice for the next one.
  3. Preparing beforehand and showing up are 50% of being succesful in an interview. Believe it or not there are still some people who don’t prepare for an interview and some who don’t show up when one has been scheduled.If you can have an understanding of the organization (what they do, their history, their mission and vision, and their products), the role and how you fit in it (what is expected and what they want), and who you are talking to (their title/role and background) you are going to be much more succesful in interviewing.

If you keep these three ideas in mind as you move forward in your search it will hopefully take the edge off and help you be succesful in your interviews job-search conversations.

Until next time – good hunting and good luck!

George Costanza, Interviews, & Exit Statements

When you interview for a new role you know the questions are coming, you know they are going to be asked, but somehow you are still surprised when they are.

“Why did you leave your last job” and “the one before that…” and “the one before that….”

If you are not prepared you might be a little too honest like in the exchange below from Seinfeld.

Cushman: Why don’t you tell me about some of your previous job experience?

George Costanza: Alrighty. My last job was in publishing. I got fired for having sex in my office with the cleaning woman.

Cushman: Go on.

George Costanza: All right. Before that, I was in real estate. I quit because the boss wouldn’t let me use his private bathroom. That was it.

Cushman: Do you talk to everybody like this?

George Costanza: Of course.

Cushman: My niece told me you were different.

George Costanza: I am different, yeah.

One of the key pieces that gets left out of the toolbox of most job-seekers is a prefabricated exit statement – an explanation on why you have left each company that you have worked for.

With one you can have a STANDARD, MEMORIZED, POSITIVE statement surrounding each situation you have encountered while exiting stage left and without one you might sound a bit too Costanza-ish.

Until next time – good hunting and good luck!

Throw Your Wants Out the Window if You Want to Ace an Interview

Many who are looking for jobs go into every day of their search concerned about their wants and needs in a job, take that same attitude into an interview, and then wonder why they are not getting offers.

Generally in an interview, a prospective employer could really care less about your wants and needs – sure, they will ask what you are looking for, what you enjoy, and may even ask what you are passionate about but at the end of the day they really only care about following things:

  • How can you help make them money, more efficient, retain and/or expand their customer base, or increase their market share?
  • How can you make the hiring manager look really good to his bosses?
  • How can you make the job of the other team members easier?
  • How can you help make them better than the competition?

As a job-seeker, if you cannot answer those four questions and answer them well don’t expect an offer from that (or any) organization any time soon.

Until next time – good hunting and good luck!


Are You Being Productive In Your Job-Search?

Most job-seekers are not very productive in their search and waste valuable time and energy on things that are not worth doing. To avoid the trap that most fall into, here are three questions you must ask yourself about every activity in your job-search:

Is what I am doing RIGHT NOW going to enhance my job-search?.

Is what I am doing RIGHT NOW going to set me apart from the competition?.

Is what I am doing RIGHT NOW going to get me a step closer to a job-offer? 

If you cannot answer ‘yes’ to all three with your daily activity you are missing the boat and missing it badly. Once you do figure out activities that meet expectations of all three plan your day around them and you will be much more productive in finding your next opportunity (a hint as to what is productive can be found here).

Until next time, good hunting and good luck!


Your Inner Two Year Old Is Killing Your Search

I am blessed to have three little boys that are absolute angels (at least in my eyes) that I love more than life itself.  My  middle son is right in the middle of his ‘terrible-twos’ phase and the way he is acting reminds of a lot of the job-seekers I work with on a daily basis.

For example:

His response to anything that he doesn’t want to do, even if it is in his best interest is always “I don’t want to.”  Whenever I ask many job-seekers why they are not networking and doing the things that EVERYONE says they should be doing they come up with a million excuses that always lead back to ‘not wanting to.’

He only thinks of himself and what will make him happy. Many job-seekers only take into account what they want and really ignore their families needs during their time of transition. Most develop the inability to go out and work a job that is ‘beneath’ them even though the extra money could go a long way in helping their family out.

He has a one track mind and it cannot be changed. A good number of the job-seekers I speak with refuse to think outside the box and look at things in a different way when it comes to finding their next opportunity and will only accept a perfect role at a perfect company.

He asks a question to both my wife and I (and sometimes others) until he gets the answer he wants. I have actually had job-seekers ask my thoughts on the search process and when I tell them something different than what the want to hear (that networking works) they have actually told me they would just go ask someone else (it has happened multiple times).

He doesn’t like to share. One of the biggest problems I see with people who are looking for work is that they take, take, take, and then take some more and never offer to return. For some ideas on helping others and how it can benefit your job-search read our previous posting on the Fred Rogers Approach to searching for work.

Depending on his mood he will not accept any help at all on anything. You need some help in your job-search from your network and their network. If you don’t ask, they will not be able to assist you.

Again, depending on his mood he is reliant on someone else for everything. Your job-search is a YOU project. You cannot expect anyone else to do it for you.

I hope that you don’t fall into any of the traps listed above but if you do you better ‘grow up’ really quick if you want to attract real attention for your next opportunity.

Until next time – good hunting and good luck!