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April 17, 2014 / 17 Nisan, 5774
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Job Hunting’

Image And Preparation: Two Critical Keys To Success

Thursday, May 14th, 2009

Now that you know how to research companies before an interview, the next step in the process is to present the proper image and be fully prepared for the face-to-face meeting.

Based on your winning resume, the people you’re scheduled to meet have a mental image of how great and professional you are – so don’t disappoint them. In my years of interviewing men and women for all types of jobs, if a candidate’s appearance showed me they did not take themselves seriously, I would interview them more stringently and never give them the benefit of the doubt. Most interviewers I know feel the same way.

I am a firm believer in the adage, “dress for success.” For some frum people (especially men) this is a new concept that needs to be taken seriously, especially if you are interviewing with a company in the outside world. Therefore I suggest you ask the person who set up the interview (your recruiter, the person in your network who referred you, or a company HR contact) what the appropriate dress for an interview is, and if they know how the people who will interview you will be dressed.

No matter what the job is, and whatever they tell you, I suggest that you dress like a professional. People will not lose respect for you if you overdress for the occasion, but they will if you are sloppy, dress too casually, or too ethnically.

If you don’t have an outfit that creates a professional image, buy some new clothes and look at it as an investment for your future. Or you can borrow clothes from someone who is your size.

For men this would be a dark suit or a coordinated sports jacket and slacks, with a solid-colored white or blue shirt and matching tie that is not too dull or too loud. This holds true even if the company dress code is business casual, unless you are specifically told what to wear. I stress wearing a tie even if you’re unaccustomed to wearing one.

For women this advice is even more important, since there is a perceived inequality between you and a man applying for the same job. It is important that you wear an outfit that fits well, looks good on you, and makes you feel good about yourself. Avoid open-toe shoes and high heels (even if you are short) and do not over-accessorize your outfit. Also tone down the use of makeup, hair spray and jewelry.

Men should get a haircut if needed, and take a clean shave or beard trim the morning of the interview. Women should make sure their hair or sheitel is cleaned, cut and styled for the interview. This should be done one or two days in advance, as grooming should not be left for the last minute.

I suggest caution for both men and women when it comes to perfume or cologne. Remember that quite a number of people are allergic to perfume, so I suggest not wearing any or putting it on a few hours before the interview. Whatever you do, don’t apply it right before the interview.

Here’s an image checklist for the night before your interview:

 

1: Check that your outfit still fits you and that it is clean, freshly pressed, and has no rips, stains or frays.

 

2: Make sure your shoes are polished. This may seem trivial but it is essential, since interviewers put a premium on how your shoes look.

 

3: Men should ensure that their socks match, while women should make certain that their hose has no runs. They should carry a spare pair – just in case.

 

One thing that is inexcusable for an interview is not arriving at least 10 minutes early. This is why I implore you to know exactly where you’re going and how you will get there. If it is by public transportation, know which train or bus goes there and at which stop to get off. Plan one or more alternate routes in the event of an unforeseen problem.

 

If driving, use MapQuest and have an alternate route in case of unforeseen traffic or construction delays. Inquire about parking upon arrival, and its cost – if any. If you are not 100 percent sure how to get there, and how long it takes, make a prior test at the same time of day.

 

Make sure your GPS and cell phone are fully charged, and that you have the phone number and extension of the contact person programmed into your phone in the event you are unavoidably delayed.  Most important, if you schedule two or more interviews for the same day, make sure you leave enough time between them in case the first one runs longer than expected.

 

Perry Newman, CPC is president/CEO of First Impressions Resumes in Brooklyn, and has over 30 years experience as a resume writer, career coach and executive recruiter. If you would like him to review your resume and offer free recommendations, e-mail it to perry@jewishpress.com. You can also call 646-894-4101 and request a free copy of his updated 2009 edition of Job Hunting in the 21st Century, compliments of The Jewish Press. This comprehensive handbook covers resume writing, networking and other key topics on how to conduct a successful job search in greater detail.

Becoming A Successful Job Interviewee

Thursday, March 26th, 2009

   Before you begin preparing for an interview – a word of caution. If you went through this process easily in the past, don’t expect a repeat performance. Moreover, if you’re still following the advice of gurus like John Crystal and Jeff Allen; don’t. Their advice is obsolete. In 2009 there is a new reality, and unless you are mentally and emotionally prepared for it, you’re in for a rude awakening.

 

   Whether you acknowledge it or not, your interview begins way before you enter the reception area. From the moment it is arranged you must start researching the company, honing your image, and preparing and rehearsing responses that present your value to the company and relevant accomplishments and short vignettes you can use to highlight and relate them to the job you’re interviewing for.

 

   Telephone pre-screening calls are common today and always catch you off guard. Rule #1: If you are not in a position to speak freely, don’t talk; request a callback number. Rule #2: When responding, get to the point and be as brief as possible. Don’t oversell yourself. Rule #3: If asked, “Do you have questions,” say “I do, however I am sure you are busy and we can go over them when we meet.” Rule # 4: End the call by saying, “I know you are looking for value in this hire, and that is what I have to offer. If it fits your schedule, can we continue this conversation in your office tomorrow? I know it will be a mutually beneficial meeting. If that’s not a good time, is there a more convenient day and time for you?” Their response will tell you how much of an impression you made.

 

   Research: Once the interview is arranged, immediately begin your due diligence. This increases your chance of a second interview or job offer. You need to accumulate as much knowledge about the company, their culture, the job you are applying for, their competitors, the industry in general, and the people you will be meeting. This intimate knowledge is critical if you want to impress decision makers. It also helps you build confidence that you are the best person for this job.

 

   Step 1: Start by reviewing the job description in the classified ad or job posting you responded to. Then cross-reference this with what other companies require in a similar position. Print out copies for use in anticipating interview questions and preparing responses. You should then list all core requirements for the position and note your achievements and qualifications for each, as well as stories that highlight them. Then evaluate the required experience and skills you may lack and describe how you intend to overcome them and list related qualities you have that are relevant alternatives.

 

   Step 2: Visit the company website where, among other things, you should find valuable information about products or services, recent changes, competitors, management profiles and clients. Visit the news and press releases pages on the site. Information contained here will be useful to engage and impress interviewers. Take copious notes that will be used in forming responses.

 

   Step 3: Do a general and Google News search of the company. For public companies, research their online stock ticker. Some of you may want to review their annual report, 10K and 10Q filings. Next, do a general and news search of the company’s major competitors and the industry. Remember, information is king, and all this effort will differentiate you from your competition. Some of you may want to pay to do a Hoovers, OneSource or LexisNexis search of the company or have someone you know who subscribes to these service do it for you. Think of this investment as doing a CarFax search before buying a used car.

 

   Step 4: Do a Linked-In, Faceboook and My-Space search for the person you will be interviewing with. If they are listed, it will give you invaluable insight into who they are, how they define themselves, and it may even provide a photo so you know what they look like before the meeting. Next contact people who worked at this company before and send out Linked-In requests for additional information on the company, and the job.

 

   On an interview, just like in school, the more homework and study you do the greater the results will be.

 

(To be continued)

 

   Perry Newman, CPC, is President/CEO of Fist Impressions Resumes in Brooklyn, and has over 30 years experience as a resume writer, career coach and executive recruiter. If you need help writing your resume, have specific questions for him, or you would like to receive a copy of his e-guide ‘Job Hunting in the 21st Century – The New Reality,’ compliments of the Jewish Press, email pnewman@Jewishpress.com or call 646-894-4101.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/magazine/potpourri/becoming-a-successful-job-interviewee/2009/03/26/

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