It has arrived: INTERVIEW SEASON ?
Let me explain. I define interview season as the period when people are typically looking for jobs. That’s now — the end of spring semester, after graduation for college and high school students and the beginning of summer. Same applies for winter break. Many people have more free time during those times, so why not turn that time into money?
Applying for jobs is nerve wracking. You gotta nail the perfect resume and cover letter. You gotta stand out amongst the masses. Will you be the Moses to part the great sea of job applications for your dream job?
Something important to remember is to resumes are intended to get you interviews, NOT the job. At this point, I assume you got the interview, so I’m going to help you prepare! (If you need guidance for resume building and cover letters, lmk in the comments below ??)
Before we tackle your appearance, let’s cover some basics:
- Research the company and position you’re getting interviewed for. The more you know, the better the conversation you’ll have with the interviewer. They want to know that you’re interested and in the loop.
- Be on time. Arrive at least 10 minutes early (I’m not going to lie and tell you to come earlier; this is how early I arrive to interviews). You might need to fill out some additional paperwork or give your interviewer time to let go of their duty and make time for you. Use that waiting time to calm your nerves and give yourself a pep talk!
- Smile, be yourself and don’t be afraid to ask questions. Be friendly and pique your interviewer’s interest in you. Don’t be afraid to start a conversation. Small talk like weather, traffic or something interesting hanging on the wall are all viable topics to break the ice. Avoid politics and sports; if you’re from Miami like me, not everyone is over D-Wade leaving lmao.
When your the interviewer asks if you have questions, ALWAYS ASK. Ask at least one question. Don’t go into salary details just yet; there will most likely be other candidates and a follow-up interview. Yes, you’re obviously working to make money, but jobs aren’t all about the money ☝?
This is my list of questions for every interview. I have this list on my phone:
- What do you like most about working for this company?
- How has this position evolved?
- Can you give me examples of how I’d collaborate with my managers?
- What are the first priorities for this position?
- What are the challenges of this positions?
- What have past employees done to succeed in this role?
- Do you have any hesitations about my qualifications?
Analyze the situation and assess how you can make it more memorable and convincing for the interviewer. Trust yo self!!
Now that we laid down some tips to sell your personality and work ethic, let’s sell YOU.
I recommend always wearing a suit for an interview — this applies to you too, ladies. A matching suit is classic and never inappropriate in an interview setting.
A good option is Goodwill, Ross, Marshall’s, TJ Maxx and thrift stores. There is a wide variety of suits in all kinds of colors and styles at each of these stores. Take some time to sift through the racks calmly and try stuff on. There are name brands and many items in great condition.
Another option are fast-fashion stores. I got my suit jacket at H&M when it first opened in Pembroke Pines, Fl. a few years ago. Mind you, I wasn’t going to any professional event anytime soon, but I picked it up just in case. It was $10 and sat patiently in my closet until I got interviewed for my first internship. Smartest move of my professional career thus far.
Make sure that your jacket is tailored and fitted to compliment you. My jacket luckily didn’t need any adjustments. A jacket with sleeves that are too short is a no-go. Same goes for a jacket that is too big or too small. Also, make sure to put away spare buttons in a safe place and secure the jacket’s buttons to ensure that they won’t fall off.
As for bottoms, it depends on preference. Ladies, if you chose to wear a skirt, it MUST be knee length. A back slit is acceptable, but be mindful that it’s not too revealing. Pants must not be above the ankle for either party. Tight pants are unacceptable. Goodies aren’t welcome in a work place, so keep them on lock! Also, do yourself a favor and pick a pair of seamless panties ma lady friends. It’ll help your bottoms from looking too thin and cheap. You dress for the job you want. Treat your job like a date with destiny; you want to convey the best image of yourself and get what you want!
Lastly, the least stressful and the most thoughtless part is the shirt that goes under your jacket. Ladies, you can wear a blouse or keep it simple with a camisole. I go with camisoles because I have them in muted colors and they make me feel comfortable. Being comfortable in your outfit is key; it’ll help you feel calm and more confident. Men, the side fire solution for you is a long sleeve white button down shirt. Hit up JC Penny for good deals for high quality shirts. Also, make sure that your tie is neutral; beware of the presidential and powerful connotations of prominent and solid red and blue ties. A muted tie with maybe a soft, non-distracting pattern in the way to go!
You’re not required to wear muted colors for an interview, but be mindful that colors outside of black, grey, white, navy, cream/ beige and brown may be deemed as unfitting. Colors talk about you, too!
Always wear low heeled and closed toe shoes. That is the most professional thing for ladies to do. Once you get a grasp of the company culture, then you can bring out the slightly higher, open toed shoes. Kitten heels aren’t mandatory; a nice pair of ballet flats or loafers will do!
As for men, leather shoes in good condition are a must. Ladies and men can find affordable, high quality options at stores like Ross, TJ Maxx and Marshall’s. Pricier retailers sometimes have excellent sales, so be on the look out for those big name brands ?
Keeping your accessories simple is essential. An employer won’t care for extravagant jewelry; aside from potentially being noisy, it can come off as flashy and unprofessional.
I like to wear a nice, clean watch with a simple chain and matching earrings. My go-to has been the silver watch, a set of pearl earrings and the single pearl necklace below.
From Charming Charlie’s
From Forever 21
I love a full face of glam, but I know that it’s not appropriate for an interview unless I’m seeking to be cashed for a modeling or makeup artistry gig. I opt for natural, my-skin-but-better looks. I like to look presentable, lively and myself. I enhance my features to create an effortless look.
- Maybelline Fit Me Dewy + Smooth 125
- Maybelline Fit Me Concealer 115
- Wet N Wild Photo Focus Setting Powder
- Physician’s Formula Butter Bronzer Bronzer
- L’Oréal True Match Super Blendable Spiced Plum Blush
- Anastasia Beverly Hills Master Palette by Mario
- Anastasia Beverly Hills Medium Brown Dip Brow
- Essence Make Me Brow Browny Brunette
I also suggest a nude liner in the waterline so it can help open your eyes!
I wasn’t wearing lipstick in that picture, but I like wearing NYX Lip Lingerie in Honeymoon, NYX Flutter Kiss and MAC Velvet Teddy for more professional settings. I recommend matte lipsticks; they’ll last all day and look professional. I also recommended nudes. Go for your most flattering nude so you can look put together and feel your most confident!
Pro tip: only reapply lipstick in the bathroom. Even if you’re not in an interview and you’re in a waiting room, do not reapply. Come with your makeup ready. Unfortunately, such a simple action can warrant sexist remarks. I was advised this in an interview prep workshop at my university and it’s stuck with me; a lipstick will not hinder my chances of showcasing my true abilities in a job setting. Lipstick makes me feel great, but you know how judgmental others can be ?
The key to hair is to simply keep it groomed. Unfortunately, stereotypes closely follow hair, so certain hairstyles are associated with being unprofessional and unfit for a position. My rule of thumb is to wear your current hairstyle in a groomed and well kept manner. An employer will notify you if it requires it to be changed.
However, discrimination can play into that more than a dress code. Dreads, twists and other black hairstyles are typically targeted. Do not be afraid of an interview because of said hairstyle. Talk to your employer if they raise it as a problem. Only hair color should be a true issue. A workplace that discriminates based on hair is not the workplace you’re meant to be in, so do not feel discouraged and continue your job search ??
I hope these tips helped! It felt refreshing to finally put my mental notes on interviews into writing lol. Lmk how my tips helped you and if you have better tips ?
Thanks for reading! ?