MBA – Interview Prep
Business attire confounds even the smartest people. With the availability of books, blogs and a running feed of professional apparel standards; you wouldn’t think that getting dressed would be as big of an issue as it is.
Interview dressing is a blend of knowing yourself and your understanding of the culture you’re about to join. Every industry has an unspoken uniform; it’s your job to understand what it is and then tweak your personal style to be the most competent version of it.
This 5-step process gives you the starting point to developing a professional style strategy tailored to you.
Identify what you love to wear in your wardrobe. Put each piece or outfit on, look in the mirror and feel what it is you find so attractive. Now, try on all the rest. If they don’t meet that “feel good” standard, they’re a distraction. Set yourself up for success by ruthlessly editing those things that aren’t your best.
Look for patterns in what you buy. Specific necklines, tie patterns, jacket shapes, t-shirt lengths, colors, patterns or no patterns, there is always a thread through your choices. Write down those distinctions, starting with “I like.” You need to be able to articulate what it is you specifically like to get more of that satisfaction and value from your choices.
Use the information you just collected to secure your self-knowledge. You’ll shop from a place of informed choices rather than emotional triggers. Your wardrobe becomes self-aware rather than consumer directed. Style your look by learning to accessorize for interest and diversity.
Study Your Opportunities –
Research the environment of where you’ll work post-interview. How does the staff dress? How does the executive team dress? What does their online visual content communicate? Your interest in the field predisposes you to have style similarities. Express those similarities through an identity marker that shows you “get them”. Casual shoes in the Tech industry are such a marker. Only an outsider arrives in high gloss, hard sole, oxford style black shoes. Use your choices to frame your talents in a way that makes them polished and recognizable, the right fit for the team.
Grooming is the foundation of attraction. How you take care of yourself is an internal mindset that shows up as a billboard to an external world. We’re all more attracted to health, vitality and cleanliness than the alternative. Grooming is more than just clean nails and brushed teeth; it’s the attention to details and a mindset of quality. It’s the ironed shirt that stays neatly tucked in, the well-maintained hair, the attention to fit and care of your clothing, the noiseless shoes that are in good shape and the clean, dry hand that warmly shakes another’s.
Being polished and pulled together is the steady progress of practice over time. Start now finding who you are in your choices. Align your self with your work environment as the most competent version of yourself. The business world is ever flexing and expanding. A suit isn’t always the answer. However, self-awareness, context and attention to details can accurately guide you to what is.