One aspect of my job that also fascinates me is people packaging for job interviews. I love HR consultancy and all things that relate to getting people ready for job interviews and presentations (though, I have only done a handful of interview preparations. A couple of others have been with reed and hr freelancers). Because I understand that only 7% of adults fear nothing about job interviews, when I’m working candidates, I always imagine the kind of stress that hits them. With a background in performing arts (before getting into image consultancy), I truly understand what stage fright means to these inexperienced performers. Many of them panic that they don’t sleep the night before their interviews.
My recent work was with a college graduate from the Xaverian College in Manchester whom I will call Lee here. Lee finished college a year before his interview preparation with me and had been to few job interviews where he couldn’t win the job. He was one of those that basically develop those symptoms of anxiety towards a job interview. When Lee came to see me in my studio the first thing I asked him to do was to go and cut his hair. That hair made him look so unkempt. No doubt, Lee was one intelligent young lad, but how smart you look is one thing your interviewer wants to see besides the major skills you have listed in your cv. Bringing alive the invisible force surrounding you can often win you that job.
For your job interview, your preparation is your only invisible force. How you look for the day is the visible one. These two forces, when put together, are what tell the interviewer that here is one candidate with excellent communication skills, management and leadership skills, problem solving, teamwork and planning skills, and who understands how power dressing plays a role in a business’ success. All other things can be learned on the job.
Lee wanted a job at Sainsbury’s. I am very familiar with Sainsbury’s job interviews for different roles. So, with Lee, we drilled for a day in order for him to be fit for the customer service advisor role. I made him to read my article on How To Ace Your Job Interview here, and we enacted the interviewer and the candidate interview scenarios repeatedly to encourage him to remember the trick that gets a candidate hired. At the end of it all, I went in the wardrobe, got him an interview perfect suit, shirt and tie, and styled him in what he should look like for the interview. It was a job well done as I also taught him how to dress up or down at interviews.
At exactly 3pm the following day, I received a call from Lee that he had got the job. Finally, he got the job he had struggled to get six months before coming to me. While sharing his Sainsbury’s interview experience with me few days later, Lee made me realize how his appearance influenced the decision of the interviewers, and this the interviewer couldn’t hide, he said.
Truly, the idea of dressing up to show that you want a job or a promotion has been around for decades and people are using it to get their desired jobs and promotions. If you have got a job interview coming, put in that little to look the part. Job interview is also about people packaging.
About the author:
Wumi Balogun is the Founder and Principal Consultant at http://www.fosimageuk.com, an image consulting firm that works with people and corporations in building better image that stands them out from the crowd as well as creating bespoke styles for the true gentlemen.