Updated: Aug 25, 2021
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Job interviews have been nerve wracking since the beginning of time. And it seems no matter how much prep work goes into the role pre-interview, the most seasoned professionals can even have a bad interview. Sometimes the rapport is just off or the good vibe gods are just not on your side. It happens to everyone. Here are some simple tactics to get back on track on the days when you need to nail it.
First Impressions Count Whether you’ve got the interview jitters or you’re trying to course correct your day, when it comes to walking into an interview, first impressions count. Especially when it comes to looking for a job in the fashion industry. It’s no secret that most people who work in luxury fashion can’t afford a luxury fashion wardrobe. This is why keeping a monochromatic palette always works. Whereas black is always in style, this season, beige on beige is all the rage. Less is always more. Keep your outfit simple and minimal. Going tone on tone also helps keep your aesthetic timeless and allows for being on trend without having to break the bank on luxury items. Prints date themselves much quicker than monochromatic, timeless basics.
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Body Language Now that we have your wardrobe sorted, let’s talk about body language. Walk in with confidence. If you’re not feeling exceptionally confident a way around this is to ensure good posture. Standing up straight with shoulders pulled back exudes an air of openness and allows for a strong and fluid hand shake. Be sure to make eye contact when shaking your interviewers hand. There are so many subtle yet impactful ways we communicate beyond words. Your other secret weapon, a smile. It’s something most people forget when fraught with nerves.
Active Listening This is a skill worth learning. It has three components: concentrating, understanding and responding. While we live our lives with multiple media inputs and staring into our mobile devices and computer screens all day, our ability to focus is diminishing. This can be detrimental in a job interview. By practicing active listening, you are communicating your ability to be present and focus to your interviewer. When coupled with non-verbal cues of nodding, eye contact and leaning forward during an interview, you are able to convey your interest and desire to be part of a team.
Balance Selling Yourself Go into your interview very clear about your soft skills and where you excel in emotional intelligence. Whereas it’s easy to list off our hard skills and tangible qualifications, an interview often stalls when an interviewee is asked about their soft skills. Not knowing what your soft skills are demonstrates a lack of self awareness. Soft skills are also referred to as “people skills” or “social skills”. This infographic will help you balance selling yourself and highlight both your hard skills and soft skills.
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Being able to answer your interviewers questions succinctly is an important indicator whether you’re a good fit for the job. If you’re not sure about what they are asking you, don’t fake it. Ask them to repeat the question. Lead with honesty, “I’m sorry, I didn’t understand your question, could you repeat it?” Again, this shows self awareness and the confidence to be vulnerable. Another way of communicating your ability to listen and understand is to incorporate part of the question back in your answer. An example of this is your interviewer asks, “tell me about a time in your professional life that was particularly challenging for you.” Your answer can be relayed as, “a time in my professional life that was particularly challenging was…”
Another important aspect of the Q&A portion is to have at least two questions for your interviewer. A job interview is a conversation not a one sided interrogation. Viewing it as a conversation also will help ease nerves. Be prepared to ask at least two questions specific to the company or the role when asked “do you have any questions?” Not having any questions to ask isn’t the death of an interview, however it shows a lack of preparedness, interest or effort.
Follow Up In our busy with business world, a simple act of kindness goes a long way. Once your interview is over, send an email to your interviewer to thank them for their time. Don’t ask any questions about when you can expect to hear back with a decision. It’s a small gesture that goes a long way. It also conveys an extra level of professionalism and humanity that will help you stand out from other candidates.