With my job search stretching in to an ongoing adventure, I’m taking advantage of every opportunity to learn something new about the search process, resumes and the job interview to bring this adventure to a successful close. Now being interviewed is something that I’ve always done well at and I’ve never quite figured out why. After taking an interview skills seminar last week, I think I’ve figured it out. I start my interview on the outside which gives me a bit of an inside edge.
When it came to a job search, I assumed that everybody was reading everything they can, making connections, refining their resume, working their social media and was aware of basic interview skills. Not so, this seminar reveals. I don’t say that to disparage anyone in the class as it was only three hours and they all appeared to be lovely. I was just shocked at some things I consider basic are actually not. This seemed especially true when it came to preparing for an interview.
The preparation for the interview, it was pointed out, starts on the outside. What was meant was that before you walk in to the interview room, you need to be aware of how you are carrying yourself, how you speak to support staff and what impression you might be making when you don’t even realize it. The example given was a young lady who chose to divulge in an elevator that she didn’t really want this job and wasn’t too keen to do the interview. It was for experience only. What she didn’t realize was that she was talking to the rarely seen in jeans CEO and the person who was going to be interviewing her. Good thing she didn’t really want the job.
To me, the job starting on the outside encompasses so many things. Some of which was illustrated to me today at the local job fair I attended. Starting on the outside means you don’t wear yoga pants and running shoes to meet potential employers. It means you don’t bring your kids with you. It means that if you are of the male persuasion, and you don’t normally sport a full beard, you shave. Ladies – that will depend on what you wear. If you are sporting yoga pants, I think the shaving point just became moot because nobody is looking any more anyway. It means you do your research ahead of time and don’t waste people’s time applying to jobs that in no way fit your skills.
I was shocked today to see people that were in various states of unkempt and unprofessional on the outside. I can appreciate that for some this opportunity might have come last minute. Heck, I discovered a great job last night whose deadline was also last night. I know the adrenaline rush of that last minute application though I prefer not to. But this my friends is face to face and that takes the game up a whole other level. Unkempt and unprofessional is going to keep you unemployed.
You can’t hide as you can with an on-line submission of your resume. This isn’t the time to err on the side of under versus over dressing or to dither over hygiene. Beg or borrow a tie and razor. Visit Value Village if need be to get a pair of dress pants or nice skirt. In this economy, it’s money well spent when you put effort in to the outside. Maybe I worry needlessly about my shoes matching my jacket but it’s your outside that gets the first view. It’s your outside that people judge first. My opinion of the people attending the Job Fair counts for nothing in the grand scheme of things. The potential employers who gave their time today ? I think we can all guess what their opinion is of people wearing yoga pants even if you are applying to work at FitDolls.
Preparation for the outside of the job search is what makes getting inside easier. It’s what makes the time you spend inside successful. Those that are confident during an interview are that way because they have prepared. They have done the leg work on how to discuss and sell their skills. They have done the on-line work to relate to the representative sitting across the desk from them. They have practiced and prepared how to answer those tricky behavioural questions. Sitting on the outside doing nothing in your comfy yoga pants is going to leave you on the outside.
My hope is that my preparation and research for today pays off. I ended up connecting with some unexpected opportunities but was prepared with extra resumes. My business card got an update and reprinted and I made sure to have them on hand. My shoes got a shine and my hair got colored. When I say have a look at the outside, I take it seriously. Nothing says lack of grooming faster than a skunk line up the middle of your head. Taking care of all these things allowed me to enter the job fair feeling confident, helped me be the friendly and professional person I am during conversation and gave me the confidence to discuss my skills to their best advantage. Hopefully I won’t be on the outside too much longer. I can’t wait for my adventure on the inside to begin.