Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Interview Horror Stories & How To Look Your Best For A Last Minute Interview

So it's no secret that I have been on the job hunt since I just recently graduated from college. I have been commuting back and forth from Connecticut to New York, spending the night with friends, and waking up at the crack of dawn. Although, I haven't heard anything yet, I had quite an interesting experience the past 2 days.

I went into Manhattan for a 12pm meeting with a staffing agency on Monday. As I filled out the paperwork and took typing tests, the job hunter waited to hear from the company to which I was suppose to interview with. After talking with the job hunter for roughly a half hour, he sent me out to putz around until he heard from the interviewer. After 3 hours of shopping with my best friend, I got a call from the job hunter that the interview wasn't going to happen that day. Need I say I was more than a little annoyed?

Not only had I woken up at 6am, gotten showered, dressed to my best, and commuted from my town in Connecticut to Manhattan, I had been in the mindset, ready to sell myself (you know what I mean). Preparing for an interview is more than just physical: it's mental. I was ready to fight for a job, and quite frankly it ended up being a waste of my time.

As I was sitting with my friend over dinner, waiting to get back on the train to Connecticut, however, I received an email from a job I had applied to the previous day. The problem was that it was scheduled for 5pm the next day. I decided last minute to spend the night at my friend's apartment in Queens and do the interview the next day.

Luckily I had gone shopping that day, so I figured one of my purchases would have to work for an interview outfit. I chose a light pink dress I had bought from H&M (for an unbelievable $5..I know!). I had the outfit all worked out, but I had a lot of other problems to solve: makeup, hair products, and worst of all...underwear!! I ran over to Victoria Secrets in Harold Square, where my friend works, and grabbed 5 pairs of underwear for $25. That was an easy enough problem to solve.

The next day, I was hanging out in my friend's apartment, sweating like a dog. She only has AC in her bedroom, where her roommate was sleeping. Since it was raining and so hot, I didn't want to shower because I didn't want to have to blow dry my hair in such humidity. This, in the end, turned out about to be a bad idea. I decided that since it was a rainy day, it was a safe bet to throw my hair up. I proceeded to use what remained of my friend's makeup (for she had left that morning to go home to CT, taking some of her makeup with her) to make myself look as best as I could. This proved to be more difficult than I thought because I have such a regiment with my own makeup. After doing my best to beautify myself, I threw on my $5 pink H&M dress, the same jewelry from the day before, and some flip flops (I was going to throw my heels on when I got to the interview).

I went into the city with my friend's roommate. The city was as muggy as ever. My skin was sticky, shiny, and the thick air made it difficult to breathe. As I was walking through the wet streets of Time Square (because my interview was in midtown), my friend told me that my flip flops had splashed dirty water up on the back of my dress. I was really upset, but she came up with the idea of buying a cheap skirt to cover up the bottom of the dress. This way, it made the top of the dress look like a shirt. We ventured into the new Forever 21 (which replaced the old Virgin Megastore....RIP) and I found an adorable grey skirt with black stripes for $16 and a pair of heels (not that I necessarily needed those) for $25. I got changed in the fitting room.

After all of the chaos, I went to my interview, still sticky and sweaty, but at least the outfit was clean! I even apologized to the interviewer for looking so shiny due to the humidity. He didn't seem to care.

Whether I got the job or not, I learned a lot about survival in the least when it comes to trying to salvage your look last minute. Here is some advice if you find yourself in a similar situation:

1. Cheap finds: If you find yourself without an appropriate outfit, hit up stores like Forever 21 or H&M (and it doesn't hurt to hit the sales racks) to find really cheap outfits. Make sure it is something that you will wear more than just for that interview.

2. Keeping your makeup fresh: If you find yourself without makeup or with makeup that looks less than presentable, hit up your closest Sephora or any other beauty store that has testers. There it will be easy to add extra mascara, cover up, etc and make you have a fresh look.

3. Carry a small bottle of hairspray with you at all times: I always have a small hairspray in my purse. Go to a Rite Aid or a Target and go into their travel sized section.

4. Keep your breath fresh: Nothing is more important than your smile and breath. If you find yourself without a toothbrush (like I did) resort to gum or mints. You could even find a travel sized mouth wash if you so chose!

5. Never panic: Although it's last minute, keep your cool, be yourself, and be confident!

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