Dress me for success -- First Impressions
May 27, 2014 3:08 PM   Subscribe

I've got an interview tomorrow.

I've googled the metafilter answers which are not quite right. I've been picked to interview tomorrow. Admin assistant job in educational setting -- but two grades above current. I have dress slacks of many shades, ditto jackets, and nice brown and black shoes. My only black suit is wool, so, no. I've been in the same position for twelve years. The last feedback I got was in the late 90s when someone told me, "You dress like the 70s and that's why you can't get a job." (I bought clothes after that with the help of a savvy sympathetic friend). Female, slightly overweight, early 50s (I have been told I look younger), curly (sloppy) hair. (I must tame it but I am not sure how). Midwest. Also: I am always afraid of staring and so look away. How do I know how long to make eye contact?
posted by intrepid_simpleton to Work & Money (9 answers total)
Don't look away - just keep looking at different things.
So, at their mouth, or if they gesture, their hands, and if they point at something, at the thing they are pointing at.

If you have an issue with looking people in the eye, try flicking between looking at each of their eyebrows, or between their nose (which will look like you are looking them in the eye). Don't stare, but just keep flicking between eyebrow, eyebrow, mouth, eyebrow, eyebrow, they're gesturing! Hand!

But, interview is tomorrow. I wouldn't worry too much about it.

For clothes, if you have a friend to go through your clothes to pick an outfit, or go shopping today, do that, but if it's only a day away, trying to figure out and buy something based on online advice is probably a bit hard. Look up some interview questions, and think of some answers. Sometimes it takes a few minutes for really good answers to percolate through, so pre-prepare, and you'll be snappier with answers tomorrow.
posted by Elysum at 3:21 PM on May 27, 2014

Can you get a cute haircut tonight?

Other than that, keep eye contact when spoken to, and when answering. Smile.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 3:25 PM on May 27, 2014

Response by poster: Not threadsitting -- but want to add that googling "best answers to interview questions" was next on the list!
posted by intrepid_simpleton at 3:28 PM on May 27, 2014

I'm sure you know this, but the best thing to do is to look up the questions in advance and take some time to think of your answers. I do a lot of interviews (as the interviewer) and when I ask a very typical interview question, I automatically give the interviewee "points" just for having obviously thought about it in advance. It shows they did some legwork and really cared about the interview, regardless of the specifics of the answer.

As long as your clothes are neat and clean, being a little quirky or out of style really shouldn't hold you back. I would wear your best fitting slacks with your favorite top, and a cardigan or matching jacket (hopefully one that matches is also in the category of "best fitting" or "favorite"). You're not interviewing at Vogue magazine, the most important thing is that your outfit makes you feel comfortable and confident!

Let the genuine interest you have in the job show through in your attitude and your answers. There's nothing worse than interviewing someone who seems bored.
posted by telegraph at 3:40 PM on May 27, 2014 [2 favorites]

Do you have any dresses? A knee-length dress with a cardigan over it, with tights and flats or low heels, makes you look put together without a whole lot of effort.
posted by rabbitrabbit at 3:58 PM on May 27, 2014

Nobody's going to hold curly hair against you. Just make sure your clothes are neat and understated and comfortable, your makeup is natural and polished (when in doubt go with less not more) and prepare by thinking about what you bring to the job and how you've surmounted challenges in the past. You'll be fine. Your friend was wrong, unless you are interviewing for a job in a fashion forward industry, nobody cares if your clothes are outdated as long as they're neat and appropriate.
posted by fingersandtoes at 6:16 PM on May 27, 2014 [1 favorite]

Having interviewed many people, I can tell you to go for class, period. Understated. Neutral colors as a whole, with one small piece that 'pops', like a scarf. Neutral nail polish, neutral make up with a bright lipstick. The one thing that stands out when you are interviewing is confidence. Really visualize yourself getting the job and doing well at the job, and believe that you are the best person for the job. Then you will sell yourself without even trying. Good luck, don't stress, and let the interviewers get to know YOU. They will love you!
posted by msleann at 9:34 PM on May 27, 2014

Wear something comfortable!

I had an interview last month and it was insanely hot. so hot that I was sweating in the AM when I put on my interview outfit. I knew I would be sweating profusely if I wore this top in the afternoon, so I put on a cool linen top (in a slightly insane color I admit) that was slightly less formal but I knew I'd feel comfortable in. I wore my hair like I usually do (I brushed it) and my normal non-makeup. and I got the job

askamanager.com has a free ebook about interviewing that has a lot of great tips, especially on questions to ask your interviewer. You do need to give your email address to access it but I thought the questions in the ebook were really helpful (and yes, I used them in my successful job hunt.)
posted by vespabelle at 12:03 AM on May 28, 2014 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: I got nervous, and none of the questions were ones I'd looked up. But assured myself I said nothing stupid. The inbox exercise was incredibly easy, so maybe that'll count in my favor. Two colleagues told me I looked nice. That was good. Thanks for all your suggestions.
posted by intrepid_simpleton at 2:53 PM on May 28, 2014

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