Greetings from NYC! This post needed a few more tweaks (which is why its going live so belatedly), even after I’ve been working on it for literally weeks.
Ever since I posted this blog post a few months ago, I’ve received questions about how to dress for an interview, asking me what interview tips I have to impart on others. As a business school student who had two different jobs before going back for my MBA, I have had dozens (if not hundreds) of interviews. And I am delighted to say that I am much much better at interviewing now than I was at age 22.
Like… much better. Thank goodness.
What I’m Wearing:
Dress: Ann Taylor (on sale today!) / Bag: Zac Zac Posen / Shoes: Cole Haan, old (similar)
Earrings: Ann Taylor / Rings: BaubleBar, BaubleBar
When I was in college, I committed so many interview faux pas. I showed up underdressed and unprepared. I didn’t know how to dress for an interview, how to behave, how to answer questions… anything.
Since then, I’ve had more than my fair share of interviews. And – lately – my interviews have had a much higher success rate. Whereas in college, I would often be cut following the first round, I now make it to the final round of interviews nearly every time. In fact, of my last three interviews, I’ve received offers from two of the companies. Not a bad success rate, am I right?
As a result, I’d thought I’d share some of my tried-and-true tips and tricks with y’all:
How to Dress for an Interview
My biggest tip when it comes to figuring out how to dress for an interview? Always make sure you’re the most professionally-dressed person in the room.
If the office is casual (most startups are casual), wear business casual. Otherwise, wear business professional. The one exception is if you are specifically told to wear casual for the interview… but make sure you’re still somewhat dressy.
The outfit I’m wearing above would be perfect for an interview with a more casual company. If, instead, you have an interview which requires business professional, I recommend checking out Ann Taylor’s suiting options. Honestly, all of my suits are from Ann Taylor – I find them so professional and so well-made. I particularly like this tweed suit – blazer and skirt.
My Best Interview Tips
First off, be yourself. Obviously. They want to get to know you… not your idea of who the perfect interviewee might be. Sometimes it’s wise to tone down your crazy and keep it rated G – like maybe don’t talk about the crazy stuff you did in the wee hours of the morning over the weekend – but otherwise, be you.
Secondly, do your research. As somebody who has been on both sides of the desk (aka as the interviewer and as the interviewee), nothing is worse than somebody who is wildly and obviously unprepared. For every interview, I am to be at least twice as prepared to meet the interviewer as he or she is to meet me. That means doing as much research on my interviewer as possible (typically through LinkedIn) and reading some of the recent mentions of the company in the news.
Third – and this piggybacks on tip #2 – reread the job description right before your interview. Aka know what you’re interviewing for… so you can highlight as many relevant experiences as possible during the interview. It’s so easy to nail those behavioral interview questions (ie “tell me about a time when you…”), it only takes a small amount of preparation to knock those out of the park.
Finally, practice with a friend or family member. Like everything else in life (minus dating), interview get easier the more you practice for them. Each time I have an interview, I ask a friend to come over and ask me the hardest questions he or she can imagine… and then judge my answers as if he or she were the interviewer. In my experience, this is the best way to learn how to answer questions concisely and tell a story through the course of your interview.
A story which [ideally] starts its next chapter with a job offer.