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Today, I introduce my new journey to my readers by sharing the first of my interview outfits for the new job I mentioned in my last post. Interview #1 consisted of a written test on Web development basics, followed by questions from a panel of three interviewers. I was super lucky that I actually used to work with one member of the panel! I really felt that I blew the first interview despite days of mental preparation, as I hadn’t done one since 2001 and my skills in that area were more stale than I even realized. As an extreme introvert, answering unexpected questions posed by strangers on the spot is NOT one of my strong points… I really think that having a former colleague on the panel, and a good reputation in her eyes, did me some good. This is a perfect reminder of why it is so important to always do a great job and make the best possible impression on everyone you encounter in your work.
For interviews in an office environment, I believe in always wearing a blazer. The first time you walk in that door, you usually have no clue what the dress code is for a company. It’s not worth the risk of dressing too business casual and then finding that they are a full-on suit and tie kind of place. A blazer over a dress is a perfect in-between that would be appropriate in either case. Even if you turn out to be a bit over-dressed with the blazer, at least you’ve shown that you go to the effort to make a good first impression.
I chose a simple purple dress from Ross and black blazer from the Juniors department at Macy’s. The dress is neither low-cut nor snug-fitting at all. Interviews are never the time to use your va-va-voom, ladies. 😉 I swapped out my animal-print glasses for a simple purple pair, and wore no jewelry except sterling silver stud earrings. A necklace would have been appropriate, as long as it was not too large or “Gothy,” but I was trying to keep it simple.
Shoes are also supposed to be “not too tall” for interviews, so I wore one of my few “low” pairs of heels (only 3 inches): a faux-suede peep toe with bows! I saw these on Meagan Kyla’s blog Coffin Kitsch in one of her “Shoes! OMG!” features a while back, and immediately headed to the Target Web site to order them. Target shoes sadly start at size 5.5, so these are a bit large for me, but a nice heel pad and tights help them stay put. 🙂
My cartilage piercing, plus the unseasonal wearing of opaque black tights in the spring, were the only real indicators of my nonconformity. Plus, I stuck with black and a dark jewel tone. My side bun is also definitely a very non-popular hair style. 🙂 These elements made me feel enough “myself” to be comfortable in my skin while not feeling like I was calling an inappropriate amount of attention to my appearance.
I’ll talk about my “interview makeup” in my next post, when I present my Interview #2 Outfit.
I truly believe that the interview process is simply not the time to distract people with aesthetic representations of your amazing depth of unique personality. 😉 It’s a time to let them focus on your skills and your ability to communicate.
Of course, all of my advice in this post applies to interviewing for an office job, because that’s the area in which I have experience. It’s also all just my opinion, but it has worked for me. 🙂
What would you wear to interviews? Do you think appropriate interview attire varies based on the industry the job falls under?
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