What Would Your Parents Do? Preparing for Interviewing in 2020

If I sat here and told you that the job market looked exactly the same it did ten years ago, I’d be lying. I’ve been working in Human Resources for almost ten years and the candidates, the way they respond and communicate, their work ethic and what they expect out of the interview process and employers has completely shifted.


Employer needs and candidate wants are farther apart than ever before so how do we bridge the gap and find a way for candidates and employers to meet closer in the middle? Employers are still expecting candidates to act how candidates acted five to ten years ago and ironically, candidates stand out more so than ever when they do.


Here are some of our recommendations for candidates to stand out in today's job market! We know this list may sound simple or “common sense” but there’s not as much common sense in the job market as there used to be.


Dress Your Best

Interviewing is a professional event. That means you still want to dress professionally for every interview you go on. Though some employers have a “casual” dress code and jeans and t-shirts are common, you still want to show up looking your best at an interview. What does that look like?


  • Pressed/Steamed suit jacket, skirt, slacks and blouse or button down. I do think ties are optional unless you are interviewing in the financial or luxury “anything” industry

  • Clean hair and make-up

  • Freshly groomed with deodorant. Make sure you are light handed on any perfume or cologne as it can be distracting.

You don’t need to go to Macy’s to buy a $300 suit just for an interview. Thrift stores like Goodwill or Savers will definitely have something you could use or places like Old Navy and Target have affordable options as well.

Early is On Time


Don’t show up late, ever. If you’ve run into a delay, reach out and over communicate but don’t ever show up late or not show up at all without contacting the employer. If you have an interview, honor it. If you change your mind, let them know, IT’S OKAY! As a business that does a lot of recruiting, anytime a candidate no shows to an interview they are completely removed from consideration for ANY position with ANY of my clients. Remember that first impressions are everything and showing up and doing so on-time is part of a great first impression.


Positivity At All Times


I work a lot with clients in the hospitality industry which is known for sometimes challenging work environments and burn out. I don’t care why you left your last employer but don’t ever speak negatively about your previous employer, co-workers or work environment. Practice putting a positive spin on your experience. For example, instead of describing all of the things your previous employer did that caused you to burn out, you can simply say that you are looking for a change in pace. Speaking poorly of someone else or another business is one of the easiest ways to get added to the “no thank you” list.


When it comes to interviewing in 2020, take advice from your parents. Go “old school.” Act how your parents acted when they were going on interviews. Leaning in towards what employers still expect from candidates is a guaranteed way to stand out.

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