In the world of work, the path to promotion, an exciting new project, or the magic job itself is paved with competition aplenty. The selection process at your company will turn into a cluttered game-board full of players like you, all wanting to win the same prize; so today, in time for September, I thought I would spill a few little secrets to help you nail that important interview or presentation that will guarantee your golden job goal!
Interviews. Swear. Word. It doesn’t matter how experienced you are, how outgoing in front of friends/colleagues you are, or how many interviews you’ve had, being asked questions on the spot, Apprentice-style, forever remains one of the most nerve-racking occasions you’ll put yourself through.
Introducing yourself to a bunch of strangers in a Dragons’ Den style set-up is undoubtedly intimidating, however, if you remember the small gestures like smiling as you’re entering the room and making some eye contact as you introduce yourself and during the interview, this will alert the panel to your interest in the opportunity on offer and is a stellar indication of your willingness.
If you’ve applied for a new job at a totally different company and all is pastures new, do a little research on the organisation. Gaining a little background knowledge will put you at ease and help generate your own questions about the company. Some organisations find it ignorant if applicants for their jobs don’t ask their own questions at the end!
What to wear? If you’re not sure what you should wear for your interview, or on your first day at your new job, don’t panic! Most people get a case of the “dress-code nerves.” Offices and places that serve the public may have their own set of underwritten policies for employees, even when uniforms aren’t provided. Some people find it helpful to pay a quiet, informal visit to the place they’ll be working and looking around at what the employees are wearing. If you’re not able to do that, just ask! It could be one of those end-of-interview questions you’re struggling to think of. The panel will not mind you asking about dress codes, if anything, your interest in the job you’ve applied for will shine through even more!
Interviewers don’t like…
Slouching or “closed-up” sitting postures. Sit up straight, but look as if you are ready to tell your success story. Avoid anything that could be construed as uninterested looking body language like folded arms or crossed legs. Whilst you’re confidently selling yourself verbally, slouchy sitting will tell the panel you’re really a closed shop and couldn’t be bothered about offering your services to your new customers! While your application form or CV has written itself, and you’ve applied for a job you can confidently do, your body language speaks louder than your personal statement on interview day, and not done right, it will sell you short!
Avoid looking like a shut book! When being asked questions by people who’ve never met you, you need to look like an open one!
When pitching yourself to new clients, Body Language makes up over half of your essential business etiquette!
Loud make-up / loud manicures. On the day, be sure to get ready for your grand entrance in plenty of time. Keep your face as natural as possible and stick to fresh foundation where needed, a sweep of mascara and a “my lips but better,” lip shade in a long-lasting formula. The last thing you want to do whilst waiting is re-apply make-up; why? well it may make people think you were in a hurry, which can say a lot about your punctuality and timekeeping skills.
Take the same au naturel approach with your manicure and opt for a pink or nude toned neutral shade. This Victoria Beckham x Nails Inc neutral will guarantee the perfect first impression!
Victoria Beckham x Nails Inc neutral nail polish in Bamboo White. Remember several handshakes will be exchanged no doubt, so make sure your nail polish isn’t chipped!
Essie’s appropriately named nudes and neutrals will also cast a positive vibe, especially Eternal Optimist and Not Just A Pretty Face (£7.99 each, larger Boots and Superdrug stores).
Overpowering Perfume / Cologne. You don’t want to knock people out with too much perfume, 2-3 sprays of your favourite scent is just enough to give you a confidence boost. Using too much of an overpowering perfume or body spray may be off-putting to an interview panel, and co-workers, who may think you’re covering up some gross habits!
Surely, you don’t want anyone at work to draw this conclusion about you!
Street and casual wear. It may still be summer, but leave the shorts, harem pants and tank tops at home, you’re not going to meet your friend at the pub, you’re trying to win a competition for a job! Avoid anything with slogans or logos on, too, you may be wanting to sell yourself, but you’re not a billboard! Don’t turn up in your everyday skinny jeans and Uggs, if that’s how regularly they’re worn, it will be obvious! Baggy clothes or what you’d be comfortable in doing your household chores or shopping is too relaxed for an interview setting. An employer will pick someone who turned up in tailored trousers over the one who turned up in jeans any day!
Busy and distracting patterns. Are you trying to impress them, or hypnotize them? Plain colours, preferably pastels, white, black and navy connote a look of professionalism and readiness to work. Your look should be on trend and smart, whilst being easy on the eye; patterns and intricate detailing will make it harder for other professionals to “take you in.” An ideal look would be black or navy trousers/skirt with the same colour jacket and a blouse or plain top underneath, with accessories kept simple.
Definitely don’t wear a leopard print skirt or fluoro heels, unless you’re being interviewed at a night club!
Low – cut tops and short skirts. Nothing screams “I’m wearing my Friday night outfits to work,” more than showing a bit too much leg or cleavage, in an interview or presentation, the spotlight may be on you, but some things are better left to the imagination!
Remember, if you’re applying for the ultimate job or delivering a presentation to a packed meeting room, all eyes will be on you! The line between make and break in the boardroom is feather-fine. Winning in the wardrobe department and nailing a polished look will give you the confidence to ensure the spotlight’s on you for the right reasons!