Tuesday, July 10, 2012

First impressions

Personally I know how exciting and heart-smashing to face important interviews, especially when it comes to the very first interview in life. So I hope that these little sets of instructions would really be useful to you, when your interview is ahead. Remember I faced my first interview in three decades ago.

The first impression is the last impression. You will never get a chance again to create the first impression. Accordingly, first impression you make on a potential employer is the most important one. The first judgment an interviewer makes is going to be based on how you look and what you are wearing. That is why it is always important to dress professionally for a job interview, even if the work environment is casual.

How to dress for an interview

Men's interview attire

- Suit or trouser solid colour - navy or dark grey
- Long sleeve shirt (white or coordinated with the suit/trouser)
- Belt
- Tie
- Dark socks, conservative leather shoes
- Little or no jewelry
- Neat, professional hairstyle
- Limit the aftershave
- Neatly trimmed nails
- Portfolio or briefcase

Women's interview attire

- Suit (navy, black or dark grey) or Saree (Never dress up with a trouser or jean)
- The suit skirt should be long enough so you can sit down comfortably
- Coordinated blouse
- Conservative shoes or slippers
- Limited jewelry (no dangling earrings or arms full of bracelets)
- No jewelry is better than cheap jewelry
- Professional hairstyle
- Neutral pantyhose
- Light make-up and perfume
- Neatly manicured clean nails
- Portfolio or briefcase

What not to bring for an interview

- Cell phone
- IPod
- Earrings only, is a good rule
- Cover tattoos

Interview attire tips

- Before you even think about going for an interview, make sure you have appropriate interview attire and everything fits correctly.
- Get your clothes ready the night before, so you do not have to spend time getting them ready on the day of the interview.
- If your clothes are dry clean only, take them to the cleaners after an interview, so they are ready for next time.
- Polish your shoes.
- Bring a breath mint and use it before you enter the building.

Dressing up with appropriate dress code is essential to suit the occasion. I might have conducted more than thousand public training programmes in the last two decades, but I have never attended these programmes without wearing the professional dress.

Then my question is what the appropriate dress code for an interview is. You want that first impression to be not just a good one, but, a great one. A candidate dressed in a suit and tie is going to make a much better impression than the candidate dressed in scruffy jeans and a t-shirt. Being a head of the department a decade ago, I have never recruited employees who come for the interviews dressed up with jeans and t-shirts.

Dressing up is not the only criteria your hiring manager is looking at.

This is not a place where the hiring manager gets to ask questions and you try to figure out what in the heck the answer is supposed to be. This is a place where the two of you should be working very hard to determine if you are the best person for the job and if this is the best place for you to work. As was explained before, you have to treat job interviews as utmost important. We see the hiring manager and a few more officers conduct the interview and contestants have to impress them. Instead of thinking, "What would I really do in this situation" we should think, "what does these judges want to hear?"

At the end of a beauty pageant competition, the winner gets a crown, some money while the "winner" of the job interview "pageant" gets to spend 40-50 hours a week with the "hiring judge." So Remember, you are interviewing them just as much as they are interviewing you. Here are some things you need to know before accepting a job: Most people think it is inappropriate raise questions from the interviewers thinking that he or she will be disqualified from the interview. It is no so.

You are going to work 40-50 hours per week with the new employer so that you need to clarify or clear your doubts on the day of interviewing.

Is this a new or existing position?

If existing, why did the previous person leave? This is a very important question you have got to get a clear answer. If the person was promoted, it is great. If the person was fired, why was it? If the person left for a new position, why did her or she leave?

If new, are the responsibilities new or being taken from other people? How do the people whose responsibilities you will be taking over feel about this? Will you be walking into a tension filled situation or will people be thrilled. If the responsibilities are new, does the position have adequate support to be successful?

What is the hiring manager's management style? Does the manager give regular feedback? Are you okay with that? Are you okay with receiving no feedback?

What types of people tend to succeed in this company? What type fails? If you are a status quo loving person and the company is constantly reinventing itself there will be trouble. On the other hand, if you are a new idea producer and they do not like new, it will not be a success.

If you will be supervising others, can you meet with these people before accepting an offer? Your relationship with them will probably be more critical than the relationship with your direct manager, likewise your peers. You will be working with an entire team, not just a direct manager. You need to know these people as well.

How often do "crises" arise? What is the usual cause? Are crises due to lack of planning in other departments? Are they due to lack of resources? Otherwise it is due to whims of senior management or clients? You need to know how things really function.

There are other things you need to know, specific to your job and industry. For instance, if I was interviewing for an human resources (HR) job, one of the questions I would ask is how layoffs are carried out. The reason I would ask that is that how a company treats the people who are being laid off tells me a lot about how they value their employees. You should ask questions. You can even ask questions after an offer has been made and before you make your decision. If they do not like your questions then that is a pretty big indication that they want employees who shut up and do what they are told. You know, kind of like a beauty pageant winner. Smile and look pretty and do not stray from the script.

Courtesy - Daily News By Lal Fonseka - Productivity Consultant, Brandix Lanka Limited