Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Exploring Attractiveness and Your Job Search

Everyone says that first impressions are a huge factor when meeting new people, is this true in the interview process?

Well, yes! ... and no. 

Most people think about first impressions as solely your level of attractiveness. But this is definitely more than the stereotype of 'the attractive one gets the job'. Which may or may not be true.

Why you ask? Well, I’ll list a few examples.

A handsome man or pretty woman will get attention in a meeting, just as a not so attractive person would. High attractiveness can affect a candidate in a good and bad way. 

Is this 'pretty' woman able to be really firm during a negotiation?
This lady is 'pretty', but can she really do the job?
This lady is too 'pretty', she does not come across as serious. 

Is this handsome man a bit too flirty? Will this handsome guy be a distraction to the woman in our office? This guy is handsome - he’s probably accustomed to getting by with his looks.

These are some not so positive thoughts a hiring manager could possibly think of that might affect the decision making process. 

But here's the more typical examples that we think of. 

This lady is pretty, I want to talk with her and I can see others getting along well with her. 

Wow this handsome guy has a great presence; he'd be great in front of our clients. 

There is no real way to control what others think of about your looks during an interview, but hopefully this shows how attractive people can also have issues based on appearance during an interview.

So what can we generally do to make a great first impression, just from our appearance? Well, I’ve got three things for you!  

1.  Do Your Research on the Firm 

Photo Credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/findyoursearch/

I am sure we will all do the typical research, right? The research I am referring to goes beyond the company background and job duties. 
·       Ask what the company dress is like. 
·       Look at LinkedIn, the Company page, Company social outlets to get an idea of the overall look of the employees. 
Are the women wearing heavy makeup or little to no makeup? For a company where women where less makeup and are not as glamorous, someone that comes in looking like Beyonce or JLo in an interview may have some difficulty with the hiring manager picturing them on their team. 
·       Are the men dressed really trendy or is it the typically suit ‘n tie deal. Think about this in your next interview. 

 2. Put on Your Best Look 
Look your best during the interview. This means something that is both comfortable and looks really nice to others. For this, don't just ask your sister or girlfriend or go with a look you like. It helps to get different insights; your interviewer will most likely come from a different background than you. Once you've found the look that works for you, you'll feel more confident and more likely to ace that job interview! 

3. Smile and Make Eye Contact 

Smiles and eye contact are very reassuring. I am not saying stare the interviewer down or to smile like a Ken or Barbie doll, but make sure you are smiling. Interviews are nerve racking and stressful, but keeping this going will help you and the interviewer. 

I hope this helps someone out there! 

Happy Hunting!

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Work Culture - Do you know what you prefer?

Knowing the work environment that you thrive in can really help guide your career in the right direction. 

I've been thinking about this a lot lately as I talk with potential candidates. I typically ask in interviews, what type of work environment a candidates prefers. When I think about my company's environment in considering what a candidate prefers this helps me to assess whether the employee would really be happy. 

There are so many differences between how companies operate. Some companies are very corporate, others are very casual while others are somewhere in between the two extremes. Then we have the universities, nonprofits, public accounting firms, law firms, tech hubs, start ups and ALL operate differently and will give certain people very different vibes. 

Knowing the type of environment you enjoy can really help you build your career. 

Do you not enjoy your job? Do you want to pursue another industry because of it? 

Maybe that's not the answer... Consider if you like a fast-paced type of environment, but you work in a slow functioning environment. Maybe you enjoy a company that is very structured and organized and you are working in a start-up environment where things are constantly changing and feels too unorganized for you. 

This is something very important to understand and actually easy to figure out!  Identify the things you like most and the least about the environment you work in. Please note that we are talking about the environment only. It is not that you don't like Susie because she smells heavily of cigarette smoke. :)

What are some areas to look out for? 

  • Flexibility - is the company open to telecommuting or not? 
  • Work Pace - Fast paced or slow paced? Is there a strong sense of urgency around projects? Do feel you have a hard time keeping up? Do you not have enough to do? 
  • Structure - Is it a heavily structured place with many policies and processes in place? Do you feel the environment does not have enough order?
  • Atmosphere (Casual or corporate) - Is a suit and tie needed everyday? Is there a lot of managerial hierarchy?  Are you afraid to show your own personality at work?
  • Openness - Do people collaborate, visit other offices, chit chat often? Do folks just keep their heads down and remain in his or her offices?

Once you figure out what you like and do not like, you'll be able to make a better determination, in most cases, of whether a job is the right fit for you.