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Ten top tips for what to wear for a successful interview

By General

As Director of a growing independent recruitment agency based in Lancaster, Lancashire I am often asked by candidates going to interview what is best to wear and several stories always come to mind including this one.

One button too far

Many years ago I was asked to find a person to join a fantastic company. I sent along four experienced hand-picked candidates and as always had my front runner in the back of my mind. The one candidate whom I knew ticked all the boxes and would most certainly get the job. After a long day, I finally managed to catch up with the hiring manager and we sat down for a feedback session on each candidate.

I waited for him to say great things about my candidate which he did but then he finally dropped the bombshell. She was perfect for the job in many ways but he felt really uncomfortable that her blouse was unbuttoned one button too far down. Meaning, he spent the whole interview trying not to accidentally gaze at her lacy underwear, and, for this reason alone he did not want to hire her.

Now some people might say that this may have been an accident on her behalf but it was enough to put this Manager off and the woman did not get a second interview. I realised at this point that it is essential to put more thought into what you wear ( and how you wear it) than one might think. I have also had candidates call me on the morning of the interview to say they have put on weight and can’t get into their trousers buttoned-up ( and one chap who left his iron on his shirt too long and burnt through his sleeve). So, even if you are going for a job where you won’t need to wear a suit to work I would always advise to dress your professional best for your interview and it will pay dividends.

Top Ten Tips

So my Top ten tips…( they might sound old fashioned but this is all from interview feedback from my clients and candidates over the last eighteen years )

  1. At least 24/ 48 hours before your interview pick out your best business office wear (suit/ trousers and shirt or dress/ skirt and blouse) and try it on for size.
  2. Consider getting it dry cleaned in time or, iron it the night before and hang it up ready
  3. Look at what shoes you are going to wear and make sure they are polished.
  4. Imagine if you are invited to go on a tour of the factory/ workshop. Can you walk in your shoes up and down metal stairs safely?
  5. Try to avoid glitter eye shadow as this is often not a good look especially at 10 am in the morning
  6. If in doubt wear a tie with a shirt and button it up if possible to the top button
  7. Facial hair is fine but if you want to look smart then trim accordingly
  8. Try not to put your hands in the pockets of jackets or suit trousers ( can look untidy)
  9. Don’t overdo it on perfume or aftershave
  10. Check before you go in that your blouse is buttoned up, or, your trousers are zipped up!

Ultimately companies want to hire people whom they can see have made a real effort to look smart and so attention to detail is key as this speaks volumes about what sort of person may be joining them.

As the old saying goes ‘ You never get a second chance to make a first impression’

  • Also if you have any interview tips or disaster stories to add? I would love to read them in the comments below.

If you want to find talented new staff, or, find a rewarding new job please see Mandy Blackwell Recruitment Agency Lancaster website where you will find a list of our vacancies and a contact number.

  • Also if you have any interview tips or disaster stories to add? I would love to read them in the comments below.

Employer ‘Pain points’

By General

Recruitment – Client Pain points

Recruitment in Lancaster

In May a local Lancaster company asked me to work my recruitment magic and find someone to join them. The brief was simple. To find a person who could do the job, but importantly would not work for them for a year, get fully trained up and then leave.

Pain points for employers

This is a real ‘pain point’ for my Lancaster clients. Finding talented people is hard enough and then seeing them leave after you have spent hours on their training is really disappointing. Everyone is aware that employees move on to develop themselves but this client had been through this year after year and was totally fed up with it. I realised also that this was a specialist position and I would need to put on my ‘talent scout’ hat to find the right person. The search was on!

At first, I contacted Lancaster candidates for this technical job role, as I always prefer to look at the local market first. Unfortunately, I could not find anyone suitable. As this role was unusual I knew I would need to cast my net wider and wider. Finally, in Clitheroe, I found an excellent candidate and her name was Rosha. Not only were her skills and experience an excellent match, also;

  1. Her degree was perfect for this job role
  2. The sector she was to work in was one she was familiar with and loved
  3. Rosha was very passionate about continuing her career with a large company
  4. She could see this job would give her the best next step in her career path
  5. She was happy to relocate for the right opportunity

In May Rosha was invited for an interview and was immediately offered the job. Her new Manager said he could not believe how good she was and could not wait for her to start with them.

Our only problem was that whilst she had a work visa for the UK each time you change job you have to apply again (and we did not know that). Lesson learned for me.

Waiting for the Visa!

What followed was 10 weeks and hundreds of emails back and forth. It was a very tense time for both parties. Finally after much hard work last month the company heard back that her visa to stay and work was granted again. At this point, Rosha was not the only one to shed a tear!

Now Rosha is moving to Lancaster and starting her next step up in her career. Importantly Rosha understood from the beginning that this client wants her to stay long term and this is also her goal.

I am certain this client will not have any ‘pain point’ with Rosha and I am back to looking for more talented candidates to work for my clients. Recruitment in Lancaster continues again.

So Rosha, Good luck and welcome to lovely Lancaster.

Finally, if you are applying for jobs then remember to ask a lot of questions at the interview to help YOU decide if this is the job for you. Employers want people who will stay with them to make the training worthwhile, so getting it right is essential for everyone involved. Questions are key so write them down before you go in and make sure they are relevant.

If you want to find talented new staff, or, find a rewarding new job please see Mandy Blackwell Recruitment Agency Lancaster website where you will find a list of our vacancies and a contact number.

Mandy Blackwell

Why I Love Recruitment

By General

Today is one of those days I know exactly why I love recruitment, because today I changed someone’s life. I feel I have once again helped a person start on a new employment path that will lead them on to wonderful opportunities.

It is not easy these days after leaving school or university to get a foot on the ladder with a decent company, and it is often such bright candidates that I meet as I recruit for clients whom I feel most sorry for. They are clearly intelligent, motivated young people who are ready to find their first job, and to work hard and learn, but who will give them that first opportunity?

Today I told a nineteen year old (ST) that he had indeed hit the jackpot with a new job with one of my favourite clients. ST had worked for two companies, both of whom had paid him a low wage and this had undermined his confidence. However, from his CV, and after chatting to him, I could see his true potential. I loved the way he wrote passionately about what he did and why, and I just knew if I could get him in front of my client, they would see what he was capable of.

Yesterday I picked him up from Lancaster railway station to drive him to his interview and got to know the real person behind the CV. He had lost his parents at a very young age but was fortunate enough to have had his maternal grandma close by. He continued to do well at school and on leaving, secured an apprenticeship. But after completing this, he found himself unemployed. It was such a shame as he was clearly motivated. He told me that he had studied for five hours the previous night for the test he had to take at the interview. It was clear he was a high achiever.

When I dropped him off at the client, and introduced him, then watched him walk away up the stairs to the interview room, I was rooting for him. Then this morning the client phoned me up to say they would like to make him an offer. If he works hard (which he will) he will become a valued member of staff. The client pays the living wage, so for this young man at the age of 19, he will be earning more than he could ever imagine!

When I rang him to tell him the good news I felt like a proud parent. I said, “go tell your Gran that you did really well and they want to offer you the job!”

Today is one of those days when I know exactly why I love recruitment.

If you want to find talented new staff, or, find a rewarding new job please see Mandy Blackwell Recruitment Agency Lancaster page, check out our list of our vacancies or get in touch.

Vintage inscription made by old typewriter, curriculum vitae

Six simple tips for getting your CV interview-ready

By General

Your CV is kind of like your shop window when it comes to job hunting – make sure it’s ready!

In my line of work, I see hundreds of CVs each year, and I don’t edit them before sending them onto companies; it’s your job to make sure that your CV accurately represents who you are and what you have to offer. So, here are some tips to consider before sending yours to any employer.

  • If you are thinking about applying for a job then you need to review your CV. If someone asks for it because an great opportunity presents itself then it’s best to have it ready. That means you need to update it to match with today’s date and you need to make sure that in adding any more details, that it stays at to two sides of A4 paper.
  • Is your CV easy to read? It’s quite easy to get over excited about fonts that you love, but can the information be digested quickly and easily by the person reading it, and does it look professional? If you are applying for a job in a creative industry then by all means make it look creative but keep an eye on conveying the information clearly. Don’t try and cram War and Peace onto two pages – just include the relevant information and watch your spacing so it’s easy to read.
  • It’s an old one and you’ve heard it before, but have you really checked your spelling and grammar? If you aren’t confident that it’s correct then get a friend or a relative to check. Many employers will automatically bin CVs that don’t have correct spelling and grammar so this is important.
  • If you are preparing your CV for a specific role then edit it to suit what you are trying to convey. For example if you volunteer or do any kind of hobby that’s relevant to the role you are going for, then include it.
  • References aren’t important at this stage – make sure you know who you might ask, but you don’t need to include them when you are just sending a CV over for the first stage of a recruitment process.
  • I find that a photo actually detracts from a CV and would advise it’s probably better to leave it off. At this stage you are focusing on conveying your skills and experience.