Job Interviews – How to Dress and Other Tips
Each city and area of the country is different. The purpose of this brochure is to assist the reader with his interviews within the Houston business community.
For most people, interviewing for a job is stressful. Job applicants are placed in the spotlight and interviewed. The pressure of trying to make a favorable impression is taxing because they know the process may determine their future.
Obviously one’s intelligence, experience, education, and training are key factors in being hired. Fortunately or unfortunately, fair or not fair, there are other factors that contribute to an applicant getting the job. For example, how a person physically appears during the interview can play a very important role. When interviewing for a key position, it is wise to remember that there will be numerous intelligent and accomplished individuals seeking the same job. The decision makers may pay serious attention to an applicant’s appearance, verbal skills, social graces, and etc. to help them make the final selection. Do not eliminate yourself over something you can control such as inappropriate dress.
Although this pamphlet primarily deals with the physical appearance (Clothing), we thought it might be advantageous to mention several other factors that can make a positive influence on job decision makers. Our non-clothing tips come from our own experience resulting from hiring numerous individuals throughout the years, plus from our customers (The majority of whom are decision-makers) who have shared various related stories and experiences with us
Eye contact: Look the interviewer in the eye. It demonstrates personal strength, integrity, and your interest in what the person interviewing you is saying. Looking down or away while talking or listening projects weakness, indecisiveness, insecurity, and lack of interest.
Sitting posture: Sit up in your chair. Do not slump over, slide down in your chair, sit on the edge of your chair, or be fidgety. Simply sit up straight and take a big breath and relax. For most of the interview it is recommended that you keep both feet flat on the floor.Do not pick up or touch anything on the interviewer’s desk – that is his/her space._Hands: If sitting at a table you may fold your hands in front of you on the table, or put one, or both hands in your lap. If you are sitting in a chair that does not face a table simply keep your hands in your lap or in a relaxed position. Do not continually brush your hair and please keep your hands away from your face. If the chair has arms, the safest thing to do is to have your hands folded or loose in your lap. One elbow on the arm of the chair may be permissible. Do not fold your arms for it may send out the wrong signal. Make sure your fingernails are short and clean.
Show enthusiasm: You do not have to go over board, but be enthusiastic about responding to questions or asking questions. The interviewer wants to believe the applicant is excited about the possible job. If you are not, why interview?
Research: Before going for the interview, do some research on the firm you are going to visit. The idea is not to try to impress the interviewer with your vase knowledge (That would be disaster) of the company but demonstrate your sincere interest by taking a little time to find out about the organization. It will help you ask key questions. Also- be up on current events in Houston – sports teams, etc
Be early: Be at least 15-20 minutes early for your appointment. Why? #1. It is an effective maneuver for being on time. #2 It demonstrates your enthusiasm for the job. #3. It spotlights your attitude about promptness. #4 In case of traffic or other unforeseen situations, starting early allows for the unexpected.
Personal hygiene: Groom your hair, trim eyebrows if necessary, shave the area between your eyebrows, and take steps to control any bad breath. Obviously, a shower or bath, deodorant, and other essentials go without mentioning (We hope). Use a clothing brush, or lint roller to remove loose hair or dandruff.
Jewelry: Wear your wedding band, if married, and a watch.These should be your only jewelry items. No gold chains, bracelets, other rings, or pins.
Dressing for the Interview in Houston
In dressing for your interview the main goals are to encourage the interviewer to focus on you and not your clothes. In addition, you need to show the interviewer that you can fit into his or her organization and their culture.
Since casual dress has become the norm in some Houston companies we will review both the traditional interview clothing and the business casual look.
Rule number One: When in doubt, it is best to be over dressed. You do not want to make a mistake and under dress. The negatives will be far more damaging to your interview if you are under dressed than over dressed.
Rule number Two: Dress for the job you desire not for the look you desire. The obvious goal is to dress appropriately. When setting the appointment, ask someone For my interview what type of dress do you recommend? If they are not sure, then ask for the name of a person in the firm who would know. In Houston, if you are interviewing for work in a law firm, accounting, finance, insurance, banking, medical, employment recruiting, retail clothing, oil related businesses (particularly the large corporations and the established private held firms), *architectural, *advertising, and radio and TV sales, the vast majority of the time you will need to dress in a coat and tie. (*After being employed you may discover the day to day dress code of some architectural and advertising firms is casual. But expectations during the interview may be quiet different.)
The first choice* is a solid navy suit. It is suggested that the garment be worn with a solid white or blue button cuff cotton shirt (Unless you are interviewing for one of the top executive positions in a major firm, a French cuff shirt may be perceived as a little ostentatious). In selecting your neckwear, choose a color that is medium to dark red with a small or muted pattern. A dark yellow tie with muted patterns will suffice, but be very careful of blues. Matching the right shade of blue for a blue suit can be very tricky and may look like a mix match, plus a little dull.
The second choice is a navy suit with a small or muted pattern. Regarding the accessories, follow the same suggestions mentioned above.
Third selection is a dark to medium solid gray suit. As mentioned earlier, the solid blue and white button cuff shirt is the best choice. For your neckwear pick a medium to dark yellow or maroon. A solid gray suit is easy to accessorize (Match colors) but it is advantageous to play it safe.
Our fourth pick is a dark to medium gray suit with a small or muted pattern. Regarding the accessories, follow the same suggestions as outlined in the paragraph above for the solid gray suit. *The blue suit is the first choice because it is more appropriate for dressy events as well as business activities. This choice is particularly important if you have to purchase a new suit for an interview.
Regarding all the suits mentioned above, wear only two or three button suits for the interview.