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Job interview advice

Old 02-24-09, 03:04 PM
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WilliamK1974
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Job interview advice

Hello Foosters,

Yesterday, I attended a job fair at the local Sears Repair Center. They're hiring for seasonal p/t lawnmower repair staff. Since I'm in school, the temporary nature of the job has alot of appeal, and I've worked on cars, motorcycles, and small engines as a hobby for many years.

Before going to yesterday's interview, I spoke with an old friend about how to dress for something like this. He's an exec. at a manufacturing company, and he advised me not to overdress. He advised me to wear jeans and a nice button-down shirt. He also told me to ride my motorcycle to the job fair. I did what he suggested.

I filled out their application and someone came to interview me about five minutes later. He asked about my previous jobs and some of those interview-type questions about problem-solving and teamwork. When he asked what I had that might make me a good candidate for a job there, I told him about my car and engine hobbies. He said they liked to hire people who had professional experience in that regard, but they provided training and my hobbies plus education showed that I had an ability to learn new things.

Looks like I answered the questions right because I got a call today to come in for a second interview with the boss tomorrow. As far as my clothing went, I looked pretty much the same as the man who interviewed me.

I guess my question is how should I dress tomorrow? I know that a suit or coat & tie might still be overkill, but I want to put a good foot forward. Also, has anyone out there ever worked in a position like this? I'm just trying to get an idea of what to expect.

Thank you,
-Bill
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Old 02-24-09, 03:07 PM
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I've never worked anything like that, but I'd dress a little bit more for this one. Golf shirt and nice slacks, perhaps. I agree, suit and tie would be waaaay overkill.
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Old 02-24-09, 03:10 PM
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Wear dockers + golf shirt.

btw, it is your job to lose. Just be confident and polite. Remember, they want you!!
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Old 02-24-09, 03:11 PM
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you only have one chance to make a first impression!

I agree with the others. No suit, but no jeans. Business casual would be fine!
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Old 02-24-09, 03:40 PM
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I can't believe how serious the interviewing stage is. Two (plus?) interviews for a seasonal gig.
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Old 02-24-09, 03:41 PM
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Originally Posted by peabodypride View Post
I can't believe how serious the interviewing stage is. Two (plus?) interviews for a seasonal gig.
That does sound pretty crazy....agreed.
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Old 02-24-09, 04:16 PM
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I am going to a second interview tomorrow. For a position that pays $ 75,000 less than I earned last year. But since there are no jobs in my field at my level in this area, I will take what I can to pay the mortgage.
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Old 02-24-09, 04:30 PM
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Originally Posted by MillCreek View Post
I am going to a second interview tomorrow. For a position that pays $ 75,000 less than I earned last year. But since there are no jobs in my field at my level in this area, I will take what I can to pay the mortgage.
That's rough man....didn't realize you were one of the ones laid off in our area. Where did you work?
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Old 02-24-09, 04:32 PM
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As a fast food manager we used to interview twice for a minimum wage job.
Anyhow, business casual would be good for the second interview.
In my current job I have to wear a suit. Oh joy.
That reminds me it would be nice to pick up a new suit.
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Old 02-24-09, 04:47 PM
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Originally Posted by KingTermite View Post
That's rough man....didn't realize you were one of the ones laid off in our area. Where did you work?
A local large medical clinic. Healthcare in the Seattle area has been hit very hard, and many organizations are shedding levels of managerial and executive talent.
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Old 02-24-09, 04:52 PM
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Originally Posted by MillCreek View Post
A local large medical clinic. Healthcare in the Seattle area has been hit very hard, and many organizations are shedding levels of managerial and executive talent.
That's rough..sorry to hear it.

I'm worried that my entire department could be gone as there is a company that has been chomping at the bit to undercut what my department does and subcontract to my employer. They've already received a number of contracts and are likely to get all new contracts for the new "standard" work (and all work is being pushed to remain "standard" for that reason).

If so, it will be doubly hard finding something as M$ has already laid off 1500 in the area in my line of work. They would have a good head start on it over me.

I hope it doesn't happen....but its hard not to worry about.
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Old 02-24-09, 06:13 PM
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I'm a contractor, mostly resedential remodeling. I do some subcontracting for Home Depot, as well as other companies.
Jeans are fine as long as they are clean, and a golf type shirt. It's a blue collar job, don't go in looking like you're interviewing for a management position, they'll take one look at you and think, "Wow, this kid really doesn't have any experience in the service industry."
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Old 02-24-09, 07:51 PM
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I'm in agreement with the other posters. Wear a pair of dress khakis and a nice polo-style shirt or a button down would be fine as well. definitely not a suit. My personal disclaimer: I got turned down today for a job I interviewed for a month ago.
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Old 02-24-09, 08:47 PM
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I personally feel you can never overdress. Wear a suit without the jacket. (Pants, shoes, button down, tie, nice watch, clean shave ect...) If thats too much leave off the tie but stick with a long sleeve button down. If a suit fits you nice and you are comfortable in it you can pull it off at any given time. If you look like you borrowed your dads suit it will look overdressed and weird.

Who knows. Maybe wear the full suit and get a feel for the environment. You can always take off the jacket and tie, but if you get there and need it and you only have on a polo you will be uncomfortable. Also even though it is not neccesary to wear a suit for this type of job the standard for interviews is a suit.
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Old 02-24-09, 10:15 PM
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I guess part of why I'm concerned is that I can't help but think that they might ask me to demonstrate what I know somehow and I wouldn't want to get stains on my only suit, or my favorite shirt, etc. They've not said they were going to do that, but it seems they would want to know what I knew before making me an offer.

How about khakis, button-down in blue or white, blue blazer, no tie? Sort of a compromise between everything that's been said. Kind of a midline between dressy and casual.

I'm not going to mention this at the interview, but I'm sitting on what I think is a more favorable offer. But I want to be able to make an informed decision.

Thank you,
-Bill
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Old 02-24-09, 10:19 PM
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You'll find differing opinions on this, but I would skip the blazer and the tie. The button down and khakis are enough, in my opinion. The blazer might be OK, but I would definitely skip on the tie.

Oh, and best of luck to you!
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Old 02-24-09, 10:25 PM
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Recruiters usually recommend wearing at the interview what people typically wear at the company. I think that a button down shirt and business casual pants would be a nice compromise.
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Old 02-25-09, 02:39 PM
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I wore a button-down, khakis, and a blue fleece vest. Interview went well as I was offered the job. I'm leaning toward taking another offer that I've received, but want to make the best decision. The man told me I could call him tomorrow if I chose not to take the job, and to come by and fill out paperwork if I decided to take it.
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Old 02-25-09, 04:31 PM
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From the other point of view, I know interviewers who assume that the candidate they are interviewing will be at their best during the interview -- best dressed, best performance, best everything. So, once hired, the candidate's performance will always be less than the dog and pony show during the interview.

Personally when I get the interview, I'm going to wear a dress shirt and perhaps a blazer, but likely no tie or gimp mask.
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Old 02-25-09, 04:45 PM
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Congrats on the offer. What is the other job offer?
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Old 02-25-09, 09:16 PM
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Other offer is from my state's department of human services. The job is handling benefit appeals for certain gov't services. The department's expecting a higher than normal workload for a time. The job is close to full-time and benefits eligible after 60 days. The job's not expected to last longer than a year.

I guess another question that I have is that if someone from the state calls me and tells me that my first day on the job is March 23rd, that's the same thing as getting an offer, right? The person who interviewed me called me yesterday morning, told me that, and asked if I needed any days off. We have an out-of-town trip planned for April 16 and 17. I told her that if it made a difference, the 17th could be scratched. She said if I didn't hear from her by the end of the day, to assume that all was well.

I didn't hear anything all day, so I decided to call back this afternoon after the interview at Sears. I asked if everything was still ok, and she said that the day off on the 17th was a little shaky but the 16th was perfectly ok. I reminded her that I'd be willing to give up the 17th if it made a difference, and she said she'd made a note of that. She also said that from this point forward, someone else would be handling contact with me and gave me the person's name. I made sure to make note of all that, thanked her, and said that I was looking forward to seeing everyone on the 23rd. She said that sounded fine and we ended the call.

It's silly to be so paranoid-seeming, but I haven't had a job in awhile and this sounds like the right job coming at the right time. I just don't want to pass on one offer that's a sure thing for something that could be taken away, if it was indeed ever offered to me in the first place.

So, am I being paranoid?

Thank you,
-Bill
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