Sometimes a Mum or Dad will accompany their VCE son or daughter to a consultation with me as they support them in taking the first steps in their career. Often parents express a belief that their child should have their hair cut or changed to something more traditional as they believe it will go against them in a job interview otherwise. It is something that actually prompts needless friction between child and parent. For the most part, the truth is employers and recruiters are not bothered by a young person’s hair unless it poses a safety or hygiene risk. Other things are far more important in an interview than style or cut. When it comes to hair, the thing to remember is not to fiddle with, or groom it while in the interview.
Picture this. You and eleven other people have been shortlisted for a job interview. You all have a similar level of technical skills, and a similar level of transferable skills. So how will you achieve the ultimate prize in the face of strong competition? What sets you apart from other candidates? Part of the answer to that question may lie in you the person, in those things that make you uniquely you.
As a human being, you have an individual set of values, attitudes, traits and talents which sets you apart from the next person. What then, makes you, uniquely you? Answers to this question can be found in various ways. Try asking yourself:
- What is my reputation in the workplace, what am I the ‘go to’ person for, the one person people seek out when a specific need arises?
- What presses my buttons in the workplace? Is it a safety matter or issues surrounding respect or listening, or something else entirely?
- What do I want to be remembered for as a person, as an individual?
These are just some of the questions you can ask yourself in the quest to find out who you are, what you stand for, and how that may be of value to this particular employer.
Well mine say that I choose comfort over fashion or being considered cool. I hang on to my favourite shoes much the same way as a bloke clings to his favourite threadbare flannelette shirt when his mother is threatening to bin it!
But seriously, there are times when it is essential to get the issue of your shoes just right, because apparently when you meet a new person, your shoes are the first thing subconsciously noticed. Knowing this, the importance of getting your shoes just right for a job interview should not be underestimated.
So what are some of the common mistakes people make regarding their interview shoes?
- Well not cleaning them would have to be number one. For some reason they get missed in your preparation. The number of people who forget to clean their shoes is mind boggling. If you are in this category, the interviewer’s first impression of you just got off to a bad start.
- Wearing very high stilettos, great when you are going out but not suitable attire for most job interviews.
- Wearing the wrong shoes with your interview outfit, trainers teamed with suits don’t usually cut it for most interviews.
Take another look at the shoes you have chosen to wear to your interview … what do they say about you? Will they create a dynamic first impression, or will they lose you points before you have even opened your mouth?
So you have scored a job interview and on the designated day you arrive in plenty of time. You present yourself at the front desk and it is there you have your first encounter with the Director of First Impressions, aka; receptionist, customer service officer, front of house; you know the people I mean. Directors of First Impressions are valued by intelligent employers and the cream of the crop is highly sought after. They are often considered the face of the business being the first person customers or clients meet. They are also the first person you as a potential employee of the business meet.
Have you ever been patronising, condescending, looked down upon the Director of First Impressions or called her love, sweetie or mate? Have you missed out on the job and wondered why? What you may not know or have thought about, is the power a Director of First Impressions holds in the recruitment process. They can sometimes play a key role in whether or not you get the job. This is because, unbeknown to you, they may have been asked to report to the interview panel on how you treated them when you arrived. This report is taken seriously and can be seen as the true picture of you and who you will be within the organisation. Potentially make or break!