Dress and Impress
Going after your first job interview? Don't let it become a grueling undertaking. If you haven't had any workplace experience or have never been through an interview, you might think the process will rob you of all dignity and courage! It doesn't have to be that way. Instead, have fun as we show you how you can dress and impress any potential employer to snag that all important first job.
To watch a video on how to dress and impress potential employers, choose one of the following links:
Transcript of Dress and Impress Video
NARRATOR: AFB CareerConnect, a program of the American Foundation for the Blind, presents "Dress and Impress — The Youth Job Interview."
Aaron is a high school senior who has his life together. His teachers think he is brilliant. His friends love him and his girlfriend thinks he's hot.
He's his own person and has his own style and his own look. He's looking good, in his shorts, t-shirt, nose and ear piercings, arm tattoo and spiky hair. There's nothing phony about Aaron. What you see is what you get.
[Knocking sound] Today, opportunity knocks for Aaron. He has a job interview at a local hospital.
Sure, it's an entry-level position, but because Aaron hopes to work in health care someday, this job could help him build his resume and get to know people who could help him in his career.
This interview is Aaron's chance to make a good impression. How will he handle it?
AARON: Man, I'm going to show them that I've got skills and they'd be lucky to have me work for them.
NARRATOR: Uh-oh, this could be interesting.
[Whispering, like a golf tournament] Today is the big day — Aaron's job interview! He enters the room with flair, dramatically swinging his cane left and right. It is a professional office, and the employer rises from her chair behind her desk to greet him.
INTERVIEWER: Good morning, Aaron. I'm glad you could come in for this interview.
AARON: [Smacking chewing gum] Uh, yeah, I'm sorry I'm a little late — I had a phone call, you know.
INTERVIEWER: Yes, well please take a seat.
NARRATOR: Aaron leans his cane against the desk and falls back into the leather chair in front of her desk.
AARON: Here's my resume.
NARRATOR: He reaches for a folded up resume in his pocket.
INTERVIEWER: Oh well, um, why don't we start with some questions?
Tell me, why are you interested in this job?
AARON: Oh yeah, man, I need to get a big guitar amp. And I have a girlfriend and she likes to go on dates a lot and stuff, so that's real expensive. And I don't really want to flip burgers, I figured this would be more fun, and uh, I really wanted to work somewhere where they really wouldn't make me cut my G-awesome hair, you know.
INTERVIEWER: Uh-huh, I see. Um, tell me Aaron, what kind of personal strengths do you have? What could you bring to this job?
AARON: Man, I got skills, I got skills, I got skills. I mean, I can play the guitar like crazy awesome, man. And I'm like in a band and stuff too. And man, I'm like, my friends they say I'm hilarious and smart and uh, you know, I think you'd be real lucky to have me around, you know. Know what I mean?
INTERVIEWER: Aaron, have you had any work experience before?
AARON: Nah man! Nah, I don't work. I've never worked before.
INTERVIEWER: What do you think might be your greatest challenges and how might we be able to accommodate you?
AARON: Man, I think it'd be kinda hard to get up before 12, I mean that's just gonna be killer. And you know, not being able to hang out with my friends all summer, I mean, not be able to go to movies all the time and whenever I feel like it and not be able to stay up late and hang out with my friends, you know. And uh...
NARRATOR: Aaron thinks this job interview is going well, but the employer looks like she's about to lose it. Let's just freeze this scene and find out what she's thinking right now...
AARON: No problem, G.
INTERVIEWER: [Record scratch] Okay, so as the interviewer, in my mind right now I am thinking that this kid is a total waste of my time.
I know his teachers have recommended him, his school record looks great, but for this job, I need more. I need an employee who cares about work and about being a part of a successful team.
Aaron has forgotten about the two most important things in a job interview: Dress and Impress.
For starters, let's take a look at how Aaron is dressed.
I appreciate his style and creativity, but it just isn't appropriate here. And I have to wonder, if he can't dress professionally for a job interview, what in the world might he wear to work?
NARRATOR: Maybe a rainbow colored Mohawk wig?
INTERVIEWER: Aaron needs a job interview makeover.
First, he needs to brush his hair and lose the piercings.
Then a wardrobe change is needed. A suit might be a little more than necessary. A shirt with a collar and khaki pants look just fine. Cover the tattoo.
The way you dress for your interview speaks volumes about what an employer can expect you to look like on the job. It also tells me if you are the kind of person who will put the goals of the company and the team first, before your personal need to express yourself.
Next, IMPRESS me.
Please be on time, show that you respect my job and the things I have to do.
Fresh breath is nice, but spit out the gum before the interview.
Greet me with confidence. Shake my hand and make good eye contact.
Sit up in your seat. Show enthusiasm for your job.
And when it comes to those important interview questions, here's a clue...it's not about you. If I hire you, it's because I think you can help make our work successful, not because I want to help you buy something, support your social life or make your mommy happy.
Sell yourself to me by thinking about what I need — someone who works hard, learns quickly, is smart and dependable. Be positive in your answers. Show me you can make my hiring dreams come true.
So far, Aaron's interview has been a disaster. And unfortunately, there are rarely second chances in a job interview.
However, this is just a video...so let's rewind the tape and give Aaron another shot!
NARRATOR: [Rewinding tape sounds] This is Aaron's job interview—take two! A well-dressed Aaron enters the office confidently and professionally, with a spiffy resume in hand. He walks straight to the employer's desk and reaches to shake her hand.
INTERVIEWER: Good morning, Aaron. I'm glad you could make it to this interview.
AARON: It's nice to meet you, Ms. Brown. Thank you for giving your time to meet with me today.
INTERVIEWER: Very good. Please have a seat.
AARON: Here's a copy of my resume for your files.
INTERVIEWER: Oh, why thank you. This is very nice, very impressive. I see that you have some experience in computer software.
Tell me Aaron, why are you interested in this job?
AARON: For the past couple of years I've been thinking about a career in health care, and I'd like to work in an environment where helping people is important. I have chosen classes in high school to help me with this career. And I think I'd be a hard worker for you because this is what I'm pretty sure I want to do with my life.
INTERVIEWER: Okay. Aaron, what do you think are personal strengths that you have that could aid you in this job?
AARON: I'd say I'm a hard worker and I get the job done very well. And if I have a question or problem, I'll just ask about it. And I also like to work with people to get things done.
INTERVIEWER: Okay. Aaron, have you ever had any work experience before?
AARON: Yes, I have. Last summer I was a counselor at a youth summer camp, and that gave me great leadership skills and helped me make my work an example for others.
INTERVIEWER: Tell me, what do you think your greatest challenges might be and how can we accommodate some of those for you?
AARON: I think my greatest challenges will be learning about the hospital and the medical terms that will be used, but I'm very excited to learn these things. And for accommodations, I've looked over the job requirements and I think there's just a few technical adaptations that we can put in place, that I can get your IT people in touch with other people that could get those done for you.
INTERVIEWER: Okay. Thank you very much.
NARRATOR: [Ringing bell. Cheering] Well, it looks like Aaron is on the right track now and well on his way to getting that important job. His parents and his teachers will be so proud.
So the next time you're preparing for a job interview, remember the important lesson of this story...Dress plus Impress equals Success!