Sunday, September 9, 2007

what to wear to an interview

So you've got your resume and it looks great: check. And you've got your portfolio all in line, the pieces you think represent your skills the best: check. And you've got a list of really good questions to ask your interviewer based on research you've done on the agency/company: check. You've gone on a run to clear your mind and you're feeling optimistic: check. You want to feel your best so you put on your favorite jeans with your favorite button-up shirt and these awesome sneakers that everyone gives you compliments on, you look like a perfect version of you: NO! WAIT! STOP! Do not pass go, do not collect $200. The wheels are screeching to a halt. huh?

My story is the above one. It's like the first day of school and this is the outfit that makes me feel good about myself. When we were children, our parents and communities would emphasize "be yourself, be you, don't conform, have opinions."

I am trying to get into a creative field, and so, my clothing choices reflect my creative personality. Come to find out, when it comes to interviewing (even at ad agencies), the process is the same across all fields: look like everyone else in a suit or otherwise, spiffy outfit.

At they tell you how to "Dress for Success." Adjectives such as moderate, conservative, coordinated, limited, professional, etc. are used to describe women's and men's attire to get the job. Ugh. Gross. Ew. Ick. Bleh. And god forbid you have highlights or lowlights or some other color punctuation in your hair: This would not fit into the "neat, professional hairstyle" says is necessary for success.

I don't want to be Diane Sawyer or Katie Couric applying for a job at a creative boutique agency. I don't want to play pretends like I'm stodgy a-hole who wants to look better than everyone else. I did sales for a bit and everyday, I felt like I was playing a part. I think I could have sold a lot more if I'd felt comfortable and approachable. That's what advertising should be, so why should the industry expect the people in it to be anything else? Dar.


LB said...

because as odd as it sounds you are playing a part in an agency too! Creative agency or not. As I've been told about my portfolio that I completed at MAS the first version had TOO much personality. How can you have too much personality? I don't know and I thought or at least the impression that I got while at the MAS that personality was a must and I was proven wrong. The last version I presented to our commentors had a lot less of me and a lot more of just work (which personally I thought was not cool). But given the fact the people you meet with on your interviews, HR, Heads of Planning, Creative Directors: all are on top executives that frequently have to meet clients that unlike the agency are very conservative. So while interviews want to see your creative side they also want to know that you can have a professional, serious side. Sorry dudette!

Silvia said...

agree w/ lb. it's all about catering to your primary and secondary consumer (agency and client). while your interviewer represents "agency", she is screening you for the latter.

I try to think of "creative" and "conservative" as part of my communication briefing. and the more challenging it is, the greater success (if you get it right).

I have this double-faced suit (black on the outside, and gaudy colorful on the inside) that subtly caters to the above briefing... gotta love it...

Kyra said...

thanks for this, writer and commentators :)

i'm just about to go out to interview with a CD and am having the regular last minute 'is my outfit ok!?' second thoughts. feeling a little more ready to rock it now.


interview preparation said...

Summer is approaching, and many of us are looking for summer jobs, going to recruitment days, and interviews. It's not as easy as it seems to choose what to wear to an interview. One has to keep in mind that you have to impress the interviewer, so that he/she can remember who you are later.