So your a busy parent and you landed the in-person interview: Now what? Simple interview preparation makes all the difference. I’m a busy parent of two boys and a hiring manager. Here are my top tips to help you, busy parents, glide through your interview day stress-free.
Busy Parents Interview Prep Schedule
To Do Immediately
The first thing busy parents should do is to arrange childcare. Find a babysitter on 4sitters.com to cover for you while you interview.
Busy Parents 2-3 days before the interview
Dress sharply, wear professional clothing and make sure it is new or looks new with no visible wear. Busy parents have different priorities and the first is not their wardrobes. If you’ve been out of a job for a few months or more chances are, you’ve gained some weight. Always try on your interview clothing at least two days prior to ensure that it still fits and is appropriate. Hang your selected clothing in the bathroom overnight; steam from the shower will help to remove wrinkles.
I had been at home not working for a few moths when I got an interview. I figured I’d wear a pair of stretchy professional pants thinking they would fit. The day of the interview I put them on only to find that the button was gone. Not only that, but they barely fit; I ended up wearing them to the interview. When I stood up to leave, the pants had become unzipped. Luckily I had gained enough weight that they stayed up! I placed my portfolio folder in front of my pants all the way to my car. My lack of interview prep is your gain.
My favorite go-to for professional pants are from Express.com. If you are on a budget visit your local Goodwill, Wal-Mart or borrow from a friend. Do whatever it takes to make this happen because the first impression of you is how you present yourself on the outside.
What to Avoid
Avoid these common but detrimental interview apparel mistakes: loud prints, pant legs so long that they are scraping the ground or worse – you are walking on them, outdated clothing from a bygone era such as pleated men’s pants or a 1990s thigh length women’s’ blazer, and showing cleavage. Under no circumstances should you wear leggings/stretch pants to an interview, and yes, wearing a mini skirt over them is still unacceptable. Avoid these interview fails. If you’re not sure about your chosen attire, ask a fashion knowledgeable friend or family member.
You can’t wear a killer outfit with shabby shoes. Guys, maybe some shoe polish is all you need. If the shoes are visibly worn, think about buying a new pair. Check your heels for nicks and gouges. If you are on a budget try WalMart or Goodwill. Shoes don’t have to be expensive but they should look new. I don’t wear my interview shoes to drive. Driving ruins heels and freshly polished men’s’ shoes, I wear athletic shoes to drive in and take my nice shoes with me.
Interview Makeup & Jewelry
You may like wearing 10 pieces of jewelry at a time but chances are the hiring manager won’t. The point is to tone everything down so the interviewer sees you and not the jewelry or loud makeup. Additionally, remove all facial piercing jewelry; you too guys. I wear studs or tiny gold hoop earrings and one ring. Occasionally I’ll wear a petite gold necklace. Wait until after you are hired to show off your bling and glam style. Ladies, you’ll want to limit makeup and go for the natural look. Check out this video on applying natural looking makeup.
The night before: interview prep
Busy parents don’t have morning free time. Place a few key items in a grocery bag and put it in your car the prior night.
- a travel bottle of mouthwash
- pet hair roller
- makeup bag
- extra shirt & blazer
- interview shoes
- 2 bottles of water
Day of Interview
Even though you brush your teeth and floss before leaving for your interview, you’ll want to walk in with minty fresh breath. Hygiene is important! Once you arrive at the interview location put on your nice shoes and swish some mouthwash before leaving your car. Guys, this is the time to make sure you didn’t miss a spot shaving. If you eat on your drive to the interview like I do, you risk spilling on your interview shirt. Take an extra one in case. I like to hydrate and drink water or an energy drink during my drive. Consider taking a water bottle into the interview; oftentimes nobody offers you water and you answer questions for an hour with a dry mouth. Once inside the building, take advantage of the bright lights in the bathroom to check out your looks. You should have your makeup bag with you for touchups, I keep mine in my purse during the interview.
*Power your phone off once inside the building
Even if you’re nervous, act confidently and don’t forget to smile. Fake it until you make it.