Sunday, September 17, 2006

Cell Phones on Belt Clips

The corporate world scares me. But can the University of Iowa really be likened to the "corporate world." NO, a little voice inside (and my husband) tells me. Still, the job I'm interviewing for is categorized as "Professional and Scientific." That's enough to send me scurrying to suit-land and web sites about how to interview well. This is where that Welbutrin is kicking in: I never would have researched the art of the interview before. The art would have come naturally, intuitively. Now I can't imagine what it looks like.

My web "research" has taught me enough to feel a bit at odds with the whole process. I've learned, for instance, that a handshake is very important at the beginning and close of a meeting. But leaving it at that is too simplistic. There are 8 or 10 very important ingredients to the proper handshake, having to do with who initiates it, and whether there is simultaneous eye contact, pleasant facial expression, and a spoken word (greeting or thanks). A proper first handshake should last about three "pumps" (People pump multiple times??) and, if the meeting's gone well, three to five slow and deliberate pumps at the close--with eye contact and smile--and a thank you. Being a lady, I should be sure not to fall back on the Scarlett O'Hara brand of handshake, which is to extend my fingertips limply. No indeed, she needs to straighten up her spine, grip, and pump with some agression.

In regard to clothing, the goal is for the hiring committee not to remember it. Apparel should "compliment" me, but not draw attention away from the brilliant and talented proofreader/media communications person that I am/might be. Leather shoes and belt are a "must," as well as a neutral suit. Don't worry if you're way overdressed than everyone else in the room. This shows "respect" for them and their time.

Being the Gen-Xer (and non-handshaker) that I am, I scoff at all of the above. Yet, the truth-teller inside me knows that some people care about this stuff. Some people are going to judge me based on how I look and whether I shake. Maybe they won't be conscious of it, but they'll judge me all the same.

But, oh God, please prevent me from ever having to dress in Business Casual. That would be far worse than high heels and wool pants. Please keep me safe and protect me from the following: tan khakis, Ralph Loren polos in primary colors, and cell phones on belt clips. And may the hiring committee be comprised of at least one person with spiked hair.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

God help us if that's what is expected of interviewees. Multiple handshake pumps? Gross.
Good luck on your interview though, and don't sweat the small stuff. You will be brilliant.