(post is sponsored by Nuffnang and Clearasil.)
As promised a few posts back, I got a graduate position through an interview recently and I was going to do a post on what I wore, hair and makeup, and some interview tips. I thought this would be a good time to dish some advice as we're approaching the end of the year and therefore approaching holidays or graduation. Not all of us are fortunate enough to be using our much-needed vacations to be jetting around the world, but are instead stuck looking for ways to earn some money haha.
Why is the interview so important?
Anyone can spend hours and hours writing a stellar resume, and make themselves seem like the most impressive candidate in the world on paper. But it is the interview, that really gives the panel a brief snapshot of how you fit into their worklace in real life.
So because you only have a tiny timeframe to show yourself off to the interviewers, first impressions really count. Before you even open your mouth, the second you walk through the door the interviewers are ready to judge you. Apparently it only takes 30 seconds to make a lasting impression.
Here is what I wore for mine:
Kitten heels: Siren
more after the link below!
About the blouse:
The blouse should be conservative, so I chose one with long sleeves and without a huge dip in the neckline. It also needs to be simple and non-distracting, as you don't want the interviewer to be accidentally staring at a complicated and eye-catching top instead of focusing on what you have to say. Mine does have ruffles but combined with the neutral, salmon-pink colour I don't think the blouse was too distracting or messy.
Where to find one:
Blouses suitable for the corporate environment can be found everywhere. There was a time when blouses were all the rage so they have even crept into "fashionable" wear, so it should be pretty easy finding a decent one for the interview. I bought a bulk lot of blouses from Gmarket because they have such an amazing rage at low prices (20-40AUD). I'm planning to do another bulk order soon for more conservative styles, for when I do work.
About the skirt:
The length of the skirt was perfect for me, as it rests just a little above the knees which makes it conservative enough as most of the thighs are covered. The material also isn't tight-fitting, which is also crucial. I made the mistake of wearing a tight, body-con black skirt to an interview once (luckily it was a pretty informal one for a retail store). It looked pretty work-appropriate when I was standing infront of the mirror but not so much when I was actually at the interview. When you walk, and everytime you twist your body, a tight skirt accentuates the movements in your butt and it can be pretty distracting and inappropriate for the work environment, and maybe it's best to save body-con skirts for a semi-formal cocktail event.
You can also wear pants for the interview if it's a cold day or you just feel more comfortable in pants. If so, they should not be figure-hugging nor should they be low-rise.
Where to find one:
Tokito is an Australian brand stocked by Myer that specialises in fashionable work wear. I highly recommend them as their stock is really affordable (I think this skirt was about $60?) and they actually have a lot of trendy, cute designs.
About the shoes:
I was planning on wearing plain, black flats for the interview but my boyfriend told me about something he read in the paper about the taller you are, the more chances you have of landing an interview? I can't find the article but apparently more height, the better. I wouldn't take it too seriously, but if you are lacking in height perhaps it's better to wear kitten heels rather than flats.
These kitten heels from Siren are only about 4cm high, and are extremely comfortable due to their low height. Up to 5cm is ok in my opinion but I wouldn't go over this height, unless the interview is pretty informal.
Where to find a pair:
Most shoe stores should have some range of corporate footwear. You don't have to look for anything too fancy, just a really plain pair of black, low-heeled shoes will do. Personally when I was shopping around most of the shoes like this were wedge heels. I don't know if these are more popular in practice, but personally I prefer the thin heels rather than wedges as they just look more professional.
Interview Hair & Makeup:
The key features of your interview look, should be clear and radiant skin, neutral colours and minimal makeup. This is the least makeup I ever put on and is similar to how I do my makeup for uni.
I used my most natural circle lenses (do not wear coloured circle lenses to an interview! Never!), neutral eye shadow shades that complemented the colour of my blouse, just one coat of eyeliner and mascara, and I also applied my usual highlighting + contouring with a lighter hand. I usually wear slightly heavier bronzer in real life but I really wanted to focus on creating a natural, fresh look for the interview.
I also wore my hair in a ponytail as it makes you look more polished and professional. Another thing is that with long hair, you might be tempted to play around with it when you're thinking or nervous. Keeping all of it tucked behind it prevents that from happening.
Some general interview tips:
Be exactly who they are looking for. You could have many different strengths and achievements, and be one of the most impressive people in the room. However, no matter how good you are the company is still looking for someone who suits the position they have the opening for. You have to make yourself seem perfectly tailored to what they are looking for. It's true that a lot of people are interested in applying for various different jobs in various different fields, and it can seem quite onerous to have to prepare a little bit extra for each company. However, it is totally worth it to do your homework. Go through all your interview questions and answers and think about how you can tailor everything to the particular organisation.
To do this, you can examine the details about the position and pick out their selection criteria. If they aren't explicitly listed, look for skills and qualities like "proven sales record", "sound communication skills", "ability to show initiative", "ability to work as a team" etc. You should also have addressed them indirectly or directly in your resume.
Speak clearly and slowly. (not down to snail speed of course) I know of some people who tend to speak really quickly when they are nervous. When you hear them talk, sometimes they seem incoherent because they have accidentally jumped from one point to another, or left a point unfinished and unexplained. They are trying so hard to rush through all their points in their head, that in doing so they have unintentionally left some parts hanging and listeners end up being confused.
Don't show nervousness. Do you have any habits when you're nervous? Pinpoint all these habits and think of ways you can prevent them from occurring. If you play with your hair a lot, tie it back in a ponytail so you won't be tempted. If you are one of those foot/leg shakers, cross your legs. For me, I pick the skin around my nails when I'm nervous or even when I'm just thinking. So during the interview, I put my hands under the table. I tried not to pick the skin but even if I did, it shouldn't have been as obvious as if I had laid my hands on top of the table infront of them.
Also try not to show nervousness or be too flabbergasted to talk, when you're thrown off guard. During my interview I was actually hit with a few unexpected questions. I was also given a sheet of paper with some graphs, scenarios and statistics I had to analyse and present an answer for, on the spot. Inside I was dying and panicking, but I tried not to show it and acted like I was pondering over the data calmly LOL. In the end I think I was able to summon the full extent of my common knowledge, and things I had learnt in high school almost 5-6 years ago, and present an answer I think was pretty impressive given the time (or lack of) I had to do so.
And don't forget that it's ok if you don't get the job. As my boyfriend kept having to reassure me after mine, the interview was at least a learning experience. It was actually my very first proper interview for an office job and I really didn't expect to get it, given its competitiveness and my lack of prior experience. Even if you don't get something the most important thing is to try, because it will always benefit you to have that learning experience :)
what else do you need to wear?
In addition to everything, one absolutely crucial thing that underlies the whole interview process, is confidence. If you’re putting yourself up in a pretty competitive position, you might be concerned about your lack of prior experience, academic results, extra-curricular activities, and appearance especially for certain industries. Yet there is a stark difference between the interviewee who acknowledges and shows all their limitations through their behavior in the interview; and the interviewee with the same lacking qualifications who instead demonstrates to the interviewers their best qualities. The difference? Confidence. One is held back by a negative belief in themselves- the other is presenting themselves as the perfect candidate the company would seriously regret missing out on.
Having confidence in your appearance is also absolutely essential so that you aren’t held back to show your best side. Currently I have combination skin and still get the occasional breakout or pimple. Back in high school when I had super acne prone skin, I remember all those pimple-targeted skin care products I tried were quite drying on my face. Yet the problem with a more moisturising product is that it could do absolutely nothing for my acne, or even aggravate it.
So I was really curious to see what Clearasil’s PerfectaWash had to offer, because it aims to provide “the perfect dose for visibly clearer skin”, focusing on this central notion of balance to deliver effective results.
The PerfectaWash dispenser unit delivers balance in the product itself- as it contains active ingredients to fight breakouts, yet also containing anti-oxidants and Vitamin E which are known for their soothing properties. There are two different types of face wash you can put in the dispenser- Superfruit Extracts and Soothing Plant Extracts!
It also delivers balance in the dosage- by an automatic dispenser that distributes exactly 1.5ml of product.
This is what’s in the product kit:
- 1 PerfectaWash dispenser
- 1 Superfruit Extracts
- 3 x AA batteries (so you can use it straight away)
(you can also buy the Soothing Plant Extract as a separate refill)
Here is how you use the PerfectaWash:
- Insert either the Superfruit or Soothing Plant Extracts refill, into the dispenser
- Remove the red tab to activate batteries
- Switch dispenser on
- As it’s an automatic dispenser, just put your hand underneath to receive the product
- Massage the product onto your face!
The product dispenses automatically on your hand.
Hang tight for future giveaways in my later posts! I know this was a pretty different post to my usual ones, but I really hope all the interview tips were helpful :)