Saturday, September 27, 2014

Wikipedia black holes, Tom Ford, and an Interview Tip

I have a weird habit of accidentally falling into Wikipedia black holes, which are less dangerous and more informative than youtube holes, but still not a wholly practical way to spend my time. I’m almost positive other people have this problem. You're sitting at your desk and a thought comes into your head like, I wonder where Reese Witherspoon is from? Or what year was Maximillian Robespierre born? To Google you go, which then inevitably brings you to Wikipedia…which makes me think I should skip the middle man and just go straight to Wikipedia in the future, but anywayyyy…and suddenly the page on Reese links you to Ryan Philipe or Legally Blonde and then it’s thirty minutes later and your still happily reading away. It’s kind of an if-you-give-a-mouse-a-cookie scenario.

This week, I was in a serious Wikipedia black hole, when I ended up on Tom Ford’s page. I love to hear how people got where they are so I was totally enthralled with how he turned around Gucci and made a name for himself, when I stumbled upon this important interview tip. Tom Ford first got his foot in the door of the fashion industry by calling designer Cathy Hardwick every day for a month, which is impressive, but is not the interview tip.

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           When Cathy finally agreed to meet with him, she asked him who his favorite European designers were, and he answered: Chanel and Armani. I know, I know, you think the tip is to be prepared for an interview by knowing about the industry you want to work in—again, great strategy, but still, we aren’t to the tip yet guys, so just WAIT.

           Months later, she asked him why he chose those two designers.  ‘Because you were wearing Armani’ was his response. Bingo—tip time! Do you know who gets jobs? People who pay attention and cater their responses to the person interviewing them. Do you know who gets promotions? People who pay attention to what makes their supervisors happy. As someone who works in recruiting, I cannot tell you how far this can get you (hint: super far). I love Tom Ford, but now I love him even more. 

Anytime you go to an interview you should obviously research the company you’re interviewing at (at least I hope this is obvious), but you should also do your best to research the person you’re interviewing with. If you can’t find any info about them, that’s fine, but just do everything you can to make a connection with them during the interview. Your resume can get you far, but only an interview can get you a job.

I once got lost on the way to an interview and wound up being twenty minutes late. Even though I called to let them know I would be late, I thought I had blown my shot for sure. Luckily, my interviewer came from a big family (as do I) and we started chatting about how loco it can be sometimes. I got the job. It’s all about making that little connection and then maximizing it. 

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