Sunday, February 14, 2010

Put away that suit!

Got an interview coming up soon and don't know what to wear? Don't assume you should just wear a suit. It's not 1950 anymore and most companies don't expect or even want you wearing a suit to the interview. Now, that's not to say you should NEVER wear a suit...quite the contrary. Here are a few tips to help you figure out what you should wear in your upcoming interview

1) Dress for the role - Interviewing for the CEO role? VP of Sales? Wear a suit, executives wear suits. You want to be a big shot you've got to look like one, in this case wear the suit and make sure it's not "dated". No one wears a 3 piece double breasted Olive Green suit anymore.

2) Know the company - Don't show up assuming a suit is appropriate. Take some time, do some research. You don't want to show up and be "that dude in the suit" who everyone wonders what/why you are interviewing. Many companies are "business casual" now, meaning you'd NEVER wear a suit to work.

3) Be comfortable - Can't stress this one enough. You may be in a 6 or 8 hour interview, you've GOT to be wearing something that you can be comfortable in for the whole day. I know personally, wearing a tie is brutal for a few hours, so if I can avoid it, I do!

4) Ask somebody!! - Seems like common sense, but ask someone. Ask your recruiter, the hiring manager, your buddy in accounting.....doesn't matter. Take a few minutes to find out the inside scoop and plan accordingly. Take advantage of your connections to make sure you look the part.

That's about it......don't just assume you need to wear a suit or even a tie in your interviews. Those days are over for most employers (finance, legal, C-Level, excluded of course). Remember, it's not about what you wear, it's about how you interview, communicate and your fit for the job.

Good luck, sorry for the short blog been battling a cold the last week....


Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Don't ask stupid interview questions!

Like any recruiter, I'd heard some really crazy interview questions. The worst one I've heard was "what's your favorite kind of music? Now, we're not talking about someone working at a record store or Christian radio station.........this was for an engineering job. Needless to say, that question does nothing to help evaluate an engineering candidate.

Why does this matter? A few things:

1) It's a waste of time! Other than breaking the ice, every conversation with a candidate needs to be helping you make a hiring decision. That's it, nothing else matters. When you are done with the interview do you want to hire this candidate? If the answer is "Not sure" but you know they like Snoop Dogg than you're missing the whole point

2) Stupid questions, give the wrong impression - Never get a second chance to make a first opinion.....riiiight. Image having an interview full of silly questions, would you want to work there? No way!

3) You're hire the WRONG people - This is the most important. Interviewing is a science and and art. You need to be consistently asking questions so you are calibrated to determine good or bad answers. Asking about musical tastes, or favorite book, etc are not good predictors of future success. By focusing on the wrong stuff, you're hire the wrong people and ultimately undermine your whole effort.

The point here? Don't ask stupid interview questions. Find out what the job requires, ask relevant and detailed questions....over and over again so you can tell the good candidates from the bad............and if the person you hire likes some form of music or book you'd never enjoy....maybe you should just open up, relax and realize that you work with these people, and that's it. What they do or enjoy in their own time...will most likely not impact their ability to perform in your company.