Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Interview Choices

So I am going to go ahead and try and go back to work full time. SOMEDAY maybe I will be able to go part-time, just not now.

So I’m starting to interview. I want to approach this process as honestly as possible. I do not want to take a job where I feel I would have to change who I am. I am a very skilled, intelligent woman, and I deserved to be hired and appreciated for who I am.

And I am not a person who wears suits. So I am not going to buy one. I considered it, and I always have before. But I don’t like them, they are expensive and I don’t want one. And I don’t really want to work in an office where I’d need a suit to get hired, it just wouldn’t be a good fit. I enjoy my clothes too much.

So I want to wear something conservative, and professional, but with personality.

Option A. A grey shift dress from Target. At first, I was going to wear it with black tights. But Nathan suggested plum. I think they are the perfect balance between professional and fashionable.

Nov 19, A

I’m glad I took this picture, because now I know not to ever cross my legs in this dress in an interview
Nov 19, A

I’ll pair this with my beetle necklace and turquoise hoops from the Love Erin Designs shop.



Option B is a floral print blouse, a pencil skirt and a polka dot blazer with the same tights.

Nov. 19th B

Nov. 19th B

With my Jasper hoops from Love Erin Designs…

I have a pretty strong preference for option A. But I know I’ll eventually have a second interview somewhere and I’ll have to pull out the second one. What do you think?


kiran said...

Hi erin,
I'm so glad you're getting back out there- and I completely feel you on the not-wanting-to-work-somewhere-where-your-personality-isn't-appreciated-thing, but I'm not sure how that philosophy plays into interview attire. please bear with me on my incoherent rant...

Full disclosure: I'm a law student now, and I own like 20 suits now- because i have to- i worked for a judge in a court house last year and at a very formal law firm more recently where this was my uniform, but i found a way to make it more fun for myself, i have lots of bright tops to pair with them, fun shoes, and fun tweed/pinstripes, etc.
but before i got converted to the dark side, i was at fashion school and very very in love with color and my personality and my clothes that expressed my personality-- i'm not by any means saying i'm the measuring stick (i hate my work wardrobe too often), but i just don't think you should knock job opportunities just because of the dress code- i actually have had a lot of fun trying to force myself into this formal business attire mold while maintaining who i am because it's taking me out of my comfort zone and forcing me to be more creative with my clothing choices- otherwise i'd be wearing hot pink leggings and jersey dresses all the time :) i think what you need to do is find a balance between the two extremes, AT LEAST FOR THE INTERVIEW!

at the interview, you want your intelligence, passion, and desire to work for the company/organization to show through- you don't want the interviewer to be so distracted by your fabulous plum tights that they don't hear what you're saying...of course, at the same time, i don't think you should interview somewhere where they wouldn't accept you wearing plum tights on a normal office day-- i just don't think the interview is the time/place to whip them out.

with all this said, i actually love both interview outfits- minus the tights. but i love the tights with the outfits for a normal work day- so i'm going to compromise with you since i love both outfits so much- i think you should get a pair of charcoal or black open weave tights and wear them over the plum ones (it's cold in new york double layering tights is every girl's soup de jour)-- that way you get the fun plum, bit its not in the interviewer's face and the interviewer can focus on your pretty face and your brilliance in all its glory!
here's a pair i'm suggesting:

even further disclosure: i'm still in law school, but am totally frustrated with some of the restrictions i've been feeling on my personality and wardrobe- so i threw my interests together and have been working in the legal department for a major american designer- and i very happily wear peacock green tights, purple ankle boots, and everything else my heart desires until i end up back at a law firm after graduation :)

i hope this has bee helpful- BEST OF LUCK DARLING!

A said...

I feel the same way about wearing my nose ring. I go through this every time I interview... should I wear it and say "screw you, this is who I am and if you don't like it, don't hire me" or be willing to compromise & then ask about it after I get hired and have them say no way? I HATE that more than anything.

I do think those outfits both look professional but I do maybe agree about the tights. Black tights would be boring and not nearly as cute but I know that most people are not very accepting of anything other than 100% BORING and predictable at interviews. Then again, it would totally make a difference what kind of company you were interviewing with. There are definitely places you could wear those tights to & they'd love your personality & hot fashion sense!

I'm horrible at advice like this. I've only had 2 1/2 real office jobs so I'm not someone who should even be giving my .2 cents, but there it is. In the end, you have to do whatever you feel comfortable with. If you feel like the tights are pefect, wear them! People in TX are way more fashionable than here anyway so what do I know?!


Anonymous said...

i think both outfits work for the look and feel you're going for but i think you need to lose the tights and go with black - not because the plum isn't conservative enough, but because it kinda just looks not so good - you could also lose the black shoes and wear something more fun if you did black stockings. the dress and "suit" - great, the stockings - not so great

meanderingway said...

I'll say this: you know i'm biased and think you're great and beautiful anyway, but you also know that i've done a lot of hiring and paid a lot of attention to how people present themselves in interviews.

where people end up taking knocks on their interview wardrobe choices for me tends to be when they look sloppy. I'd give points to someone with the confidence to make a classy bold wardrobe choice over a bland one. at the same time though, if that wardrobe choice has an in-your-face quality, then that could be an indicator that the individual in question looks for opportunities to buck authority - not such a good thing when you're hiring someone you need to take direction from you.

It really all does come down to the personality of the interviewer and the company, and it's all subjective. I'd think someone wearing plum tights was fun and had some creative ideas (which we prize where i work), but someone else might think plum tights make you look like a brazen hussy (though you probably wouldn't want to work for someone like that anyway).

one thing you can be sure of - a wardrobe choice like plum tights definitely gets you remembered.

i also think that if someone picks plum tights as a reason to not hire you, then that person is pretty small-minded. and before someone else brings it up - it's never going to come down to a hypothetical "what if everything else is equal between you and someone else and wardrobe ends up being the deciding factor?" there is no qualifications/personality doppelganger out there getting all of the jobs you didn't because she wore charcoal tights when you wore plum.

Anonymous said...

First let me say, you look great in both outfits and I wish you a world of luck at your interviews. As someone who just went through a series of interviews a couple of months ago I know how nerve racking they can be.
I think your interviewing outfit totally depends on the industry you work in and the type of company the potential job is with. If in a creative field (i.e. advertising, architecture , marketing, etc.) then by all means a creative outift - colorful tights, fun accessories are key and commonplace. However, for more middle of the road industries - legal, real estate, insurance, etc. it is best to keep things conservative during the interviewing process (also, during this time you can size up the dresscode of the prospective employer and figure out if their dresscode will work for you if offered the job). I know it seems like you are "selling out" or not being true to the person you are, but jobs are getting harder and harder to come by and it is important to portray yourself in a very professional manner. I have also been the interviewer before and expected people to give a lot of effort in their interviewing outfit - a full suit wasn't needed, but I expected my candidates to at least have on a blazer. It portrayed to me that they were professional and took my meeting with them seriously.
Enough of my babbling . . .
Outfit A - I would pair the dress with a black blazer and black tights (especially since it is a bit short) to dress it up a bit. Oufit B - I like and I think the plum tights are fine with it since the skirt is longer and the color is tied into the outfit with the blouse. However, if you know you are interviewing in a more professional environment then play it safe and go with black or the layered look as mentioned above.
Once again - good luck!

Meesh said...

As a former recruiter I have to say I'd go with outfit B. The first one is ok for after you're hired. You want to put your best foot forward in the interview and be remembered for your professionalism and your skills, not for being the girl that wore the purple tights.

HR people or anyone doing the interviewing is going to want to see someone put together in a polished and professional way and that definetly means wearing a jacket and skirt or a suit of some kind. You might have to compromise for one day and just hold back who you are for the interview because they aren't hiring you for your fashion sense or personality, they want to hire a good employee that is aware of and knows when it's appropriate to dress with more flair and when it's time to be a bit more conservative and buttoned down.

With all the people looking for work there will be competition and you don't want to miss out on a paycheck because you need to express yourself through your wardrobe during the interview.

V said...

I'd go with the 2nd option, w/black tights. Save the plum tights (which are super cute) to when you've been hired.

Nemo said...

Option one looks far too casual unless you're interviewing for a job at a mall.

Option two is the only one that is actually professional for an interview. But nix the colored tights and matching bag. Black tights/hose and a sensible practical bag. And the shoes are definitely more trend than consider other options. But they may look less trendy paired with black on the legs.

You can show personality after you're hired but until then, let your experience and brains speak for you.

Mini said...

I really, really love option A, but the floral in option B makes it just as perfect.

Anonymous said...

As an outfit I much prefer option A - it's adorable. But I think a jacket or blazer can make an outfit for interview. Could you pair option A with a short jacket to make it look interview appropriate?

I don't have any experience of hiring, so I rather like the plum tights! That said, when looking for work I do have an interview suit, and only start to dress quirkily once I am sure the office environment can take me!!

Boutique Girl said...

First of all GOOD LUCK!
Go with the first option all the way. IF the interview is for a conservative place then switch in black tights.

I just do not feel the second option on you at all.

I hope that the etsy store is going well?!

Kelly said...

I'm back and forth on the plum tights. You want to show your personality, but you don't want to look too casual. On the other hand, it isn't like you are applying for a CPA position. Maybe I would have to see Option A with a jacket. Also, I would not do the necklace AND the tights. One or the other.

For Option B, I think it might pop more if the skirt were a different color. Do you have a black one? If not, I have one that might work.

Autumn said...

I'm so conflicted, but I agree with everyone. Is that strange?

I wouldn't base my two inverview outfits around one pair of tights, either. What if you got called back for a second interview at the same place?! (I know you wouldn't wear them again, I'm just saying.)

H's Blog said...

I love option A! You look classic with a fun twist.

My only concern is that the bright tights and contrasting booties make your legs look shorter than they are. Still, you look great.

And I always thought you were 10 years younger! Weird!

Anonymous said...

Probably too late to post an opinion but.........I'd go with option A. I had a job interview on Wednesday and I do not like suits either. I actually went shopping to find one and ended up feeling so depressed and uncomfortable I instead wore what I liked: a brown suede skirt, moss green jumper and brown leather boots. In a previous position I was a director of a large dept and had to interview for several positions. I never cared what people wore as long as they looked put together and not sloppy. And to be honest, if I interviewed you I'd be impressed by your fashion sense!

Unknown said...

I like Option A but I think it is way too short to be interview appropriate. I would also pair it with a blazer to make it a little more formal. Option B makes you look too frumpy. I think the skirt is not so flattering and the plum tights with the longer skirt look too granny for me. I would try Option B with nude hose and a classis pump. With a longer skirt, you'll want to elongate the leg, not cut it off with those ankle boots.

Anonymous said...

the first outfit is just oddly inappropriate for an interview. way too short! if you are worried about crossing your legs and looking inappropriate in the interview you shouldn't be wearing the outfit to the interview in the first place.