tips

Why Interviews are Like First Dates… and how to dress and act to get invited back

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Much like a first date, an interview is a feeling out process for both the sides. There may be some nervousness. There will certainly be uncertainty. How are they expecting me to act? What should I wear? How’s my breath?

The first impression counts for a lot.

Now, whether or not I'm a dating expert is still up for debate; however, if you’re going for an interview, here are a few essential pieces of etiquette you need to know if you want to get to a second round of interviews.

If you try any of these on a date, I would honestly love to hear how it goes (hit me up with details at greg@greglangstaff.com).

What should I wear? Wear a suit... for the interview, not the date (unless you feel a suit is appropriate, I don't know what you have planned). For the interview, a suit means your jacket matches your skirt or pants. Underneath said jacket, wear something professional, whether that be a dress shirt and tie or another professional-looking top. Regardless of your gender-expression, suits are your best bet for success. Also please wear dress shoes.

Unless explicitly told not to dress this way by the interviewer, this will be the expected interview attire regardless of what type of clothing is worn in the work place.

When should I get there? For both a date, and an interview, arrive 10-15 minutes early. If you're antsy and want to get there earlier, that's fine, but don't present yourself until you're in this time window. You don't want to show up too early, it can be a bit awkward for everyone if they're not ready for you.

Also, please don't show up last minute. It's a major red flag.

Be friendly with the receptionist (or parents, or roommate): Whoever is receiving you at the office's front desk (or your date's house) will likely be consulted to see how you behaved before the interview (or date) began.

Physical Contact? Shake the interviewers hand before and after the interview: No need to wait for them to initiate the handshake. They might be tired from all the interviews and might not initiate. If they have a valid reason not to shake your hand, they will politely decline and it will not be a big deal, I promise.

If on a date, remember, consent is key. Ask before you do anything. 

How do I follow up after? After an interview, write a “Thank You” email. Later that day or the next, write an email to the hiring manager (and the full committee if possible). Don't try to continue pitching yourself here. Just tell them it was really nice to meet them and thank them for taking the time to interview you.

As for following up after the date, totally up to you. Follow your heart.

I hope you enjoyed this ultra-romantic interview advice. I certainly had a good time writing it. Good luck on your next interview!

The Most Common Interview Questions and How to Answer Them

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Welcome to Greg Langstaff's Job Search Mini-Blogs, where I give you a quick burst of awesome advice so you can get what you need and go continue being your awesome self.

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There are three very common interview questions that no one seems to quite know how to answer. Keep these tips in mind as you prepare your answers and you'll rock these questions!

1- Tell us about yourself

Possibly the most ambiguous interview question of all time. What the interviewer wants to hear about at the major transition points in your life that led you to be interested in this field of work.

A condensed example: I studied Creative Writing in school and I became the Communications Director of Creative Arts Students Association, which I really enjoyed. So I took a post-grad certificate in corporate communications and I've loved this kind of work ever since.

2- Why are you interested in this position?

This is a two part question and most new professionals make the mistake of answering one or the other. The parts are; a) why do you want to work at this organization, and b) why do you want to do the work required of this position.

A condensed example: I've always admired McDonald’s commitment to philanthropy and I had a friend who stayed at the Ronald McDonald House when she was young so I've seen first hand the positive impact your organization has. I feel the sponsorship partnership coordinator position is a great fit with the skills I developed as the Community Outreach Chair on my school’s Relay for Life Committee.

3- Tell us about a weakness of yours

Don't tell them a weakness. Tell them something you used to be bad at but have gotten better at. Then tell them how you got better and the result of your improvement.

A condensed example: I used to have trouble with difficult conversations and the cashier team I supervise had a bunch of tension I didn't know how to deal with. So I signed up for a Difficult Conversations webinar online and I applied the skills I learned there to help the team resolve the personal conflicts we were having.

Need help finding your excellent answers to these and other common questions? Reach out and I'll make you a master interviewer.

Why Cover Letters are like Pants

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Welcome to Greg Langstaff's Job Search Mini-Blogs, where I give you a quick burst of advice so you can get what you need and continue being your awesome self.

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Cover letters are like pants. You're not going to get hired just because you wore great pants to the interview, but you're definitely not going to get hired if you don't wear any.

Where the cover letter and the pants differ, is that I don't care if you wore those pants to another job interview, but I definitely don't like if you've sent the same cover letter to another job. Each job application should come with a specifically tailored cover letter explaining why you'd be a great fit for the job. This can be tedious, especially considering the low emphasis the typical hiring manager places in cover letters, so here's a paragraph-by-paragraph guide on how to write a great one as painlessly as possible.

*Follow these bullet points as sentiments to be expanded upon. If you copy this directly, your cover letter will be to short and disjointed.

Paragraph One:

  • I am very excited to submit my application for [job] at [company]

  • I am applying because my personal interests/passions and my skill set align closely with this position

Paragraph Two:

  • The most important skill for a person in this position to have is [most important skill]

  • I gained that skill during my experience as [previous role], where I accomplished [accomplishment related to this skill]

Paragraph Three:

  • (Repeat paragraph two for second most important skill)

Paragraph Four:

  • I'm very excited about the prospect of joining your amazing team

  • Thank you so much for taking the time to read my application and I hope to hear from you soon

Need help crafting or reviewing your cover letter? Reach out and I'll be happy to help you!