You just got off the phone with the hiring manager of a job you applied for, and he/she wants to see you for an interview. Congratulations! Making it to the interview stage is something to celebrate, but still far from landing the job. Before you let the real celebration begin, you need to prove you are as good as you sound on paper. When you walk into that room, you want to make the best impression you can from the moment the hiring manger sees you.

First impressions are often a make or break factor in the interview process. So, what exactly does it take make a winning first impression? Read on to discover our best tips.

What to Wear
Dressing for a blue-collar job interview can be tricky. Do you wear a suit or business casual? Dressing appropriately shows you understand the job environment and take the position seriously. Wear your best version of what other people wear in the workplace.

For industrial:
Dark work slacks and blouse or collared polo with minimal, or no, jewelry for women – long or dangly earrings and necklaces should also be avoided when applying for warehouse or construction positions. Keep makeup simple, nothing dramatic or bold. Dark work slacks and collared shirt for men. Appropriate work shoes for both – cleaned and polished, of course.

For clerical:
Dress slacks or skirt with a blouse and minimal, or no, jewelry for women. Dress slacks with collared dress shirt for men. Cleaned and polished dress shoes for both.

For any position, absolutely have every clothing item clean, stain-free, pressed, and well fitted. Avoid shirts with large graphics or slogans on them, low-cut tees, or too many accessories. Aim for professional, not fashion-forward.

If you are still unsure what to wear, you can always call HR receptionist and ask what employees typically wear to work. The interviewer will appreciate your attention to detail, and your effort to dress for the job will show you are serious about being hired.

Grooming and Hygiene
Surprisingly, this comment must be said – take a shower! Make sure your hair is freshly washed, trimmed, brushed back, and out of your face. Men and women with long hair should wear it pulled back, especially if interviewing for a factory or warehouse position where you may tour the facility. Men should have clean-shaven faces or well cared for beards and/or mustaches.

Timeliness is an absolute must at the interview stage. Show that you will be the kind of employee who shows up early and prepared for work by arriving at least 15 minutes early to the interview. Also, make time in your day for the entire process. Interviews can run anywhere from 20 minutes to over an hour, and there may be other people lined up before you. Clear your schedule around the interview so you can relax and focus on the task at hand.

Body Language
Everyone has heard that actions speak louder than words; so does your body language. Let your confidence and positive attitude shine the moment you walk through the door. Meet your interviewer with eye contact and a firm handshake. Stand tall with your shoulders back. Avoid nervous habits like nail biting, knuckle popping, and/or leg shaking. Smile! Doing these small actions shows confidence and helps you to feel confident.

The Interview
A well-prepared interviewee arrives having researched the company and with prepared answers. When you research the company, look up their history, what they produce, and what they are currently striving to achieve. Think of some questions you can ask during the question period of the interview. You can never know exactly what questions you will be asked, but there are many examples of interview questions on the internet you can use to practice. Be ready to share information about your experience, education, and achievements, and be honest with your answers. Relevant personal experience with home improvement projects or working on vehicles also give evidence that you have the skills and abilities required for the job at hand.

Be courteous and attentive during the interview. Use respectful language — absolutely no cuss words or slang. Turn off or silence your mobile phone and other electronic devices, and don’t check them during the interview. Sit up straight. Show an interest in your interviewer and don’t be afraid to create small talk, it shows you are a “real” person and it helps relax the setting. Always thank your interviewer before you leave.

Relax and Be Yourself
It’s completely normal to feel nervous before an interview, but too much anxiety can hamper your ability to perform well in the interview. Before you are called into the office, take a deep breath through your nose and let it out though your mouth. Relax your muscles by tightening and releasing them. Stay positive and imagine yourself succeeding in the interview. Remember, you can do this!

Interviews can be intimidating, but consider it your opportunity to make a great first impression. Our staff takes pride in sending top-of-the-line workers out into the workforce and helping them succeed. Check out our Job Seekers page to discover what jobs are open in your area. Then, give us a call and we’ll start finding your new job together.

Lights on evergreens, freshly iced cookies, and the anticipation of Christmas morning are some of the best parts about the holiday season. However, Christmas isn’t always the most wonderful time of the year for everyone. As much as we love the magic and memories, Christmas can often be seen as a time of stress, busyness, and strife. The emotions surrounding the season can often be as colorful as the rainbow of lights decorating your neighbor’s front porch, so why not spark the Christmas spirit in your workplace?

Here are some fresh ideas to spread a little good will to your coworkers this holiday.

Bring a plate of Christmas treats into work: After all, who doesn’t enjoy Christmas cookies? For those who can’t indulge, include a bowl of fresh veggies.

Give work-appropriate compliments to your coworkers: “Great job on that product.” “Good work with handing that project, it looked tough.” A few kind words can really help turn someone’s day around. It may even melt even the most Scrooge-like of hearts.

Brush the snow off your coworkers’ vehicles: You certainly know the feeling of coming to the end of the day only to discover you have two inches of snow and ice to scrape off your car. Imagine how great you’d feel if you discovered someone already did it for you. Try this random act of kindness and give your coworkers a pleasant surprise at the end of their difficult work day.

Wear holiday apparel: Providing it doesn’t disturb your work environment, have a little fun, and break out your best Santa hat and Christmas sweater. You could even invite your coworkers to join you and have an ugly Christmas sweater contest. If this is too extreme for your dress code, put on some holiday socks to help you get in the spirit.

Turn on holiday music: If your assignment allows you to wear headphones, get into the Christmas mood by jamming to your favorite holiday tunes.

Make a donation: If your workplace participates in a charity program for the holidays, consider contributing money or time to the cause. Inspire others to join in the giving by setting an example or creating a race between departments. Challenge each other to see which department donates the most volunteer hours to charities or raises the most funds.

Even if you are experiencing a stressful Christmas, try to find time this year to slow down and share kindness with others. Most of all, we hope that in both big and small ways you experience personal joy, while bringing the Christmas spirit to your workplace.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from WorkBox!