General Question

tinyfaery's avatar

A few questions about interviewing for a new job?

Asked by tinyfaery (42945points) September 19th, 2008

1. Is it okay to dress up a nice pair of jeans if I am interviewing at a casual company, a place where jeans and a shirt would be appropriate attire?

2. Should I really send a thank you note to the person who I interviewed with? Do people still do that?

3. Is it appropriate to ask my current supervisor for a reference?

I’ve been doing a lot of interviewing this past week, and I have more scheduled for next week. I’m just trying to maximize my success.

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15 Answers

marinelife's avatar

Regarding dress, I would say no. Even if it is a casual company, you want to dress better than the work standard. It is your first impression. You can relax later. If you know for a fact it is really casual, I would still go with nice slacks, a blouse and a jacket as the lowest level of dress, close-toed shoes and some kind of trouser socks or stockings.

Thank-you notes. Everyone says write them and more than 90% of applicants don’t bother. I always noticed when an interviewee sent a thank-you note. It is really good for you in that it separates you from the herd, allows you to remind the interviewer who you are, and to make any extra points you thought of later.

Do NOT ask your current supervisor for a reference unless they know and are OK with you job hunting. It could impact your current work environment. It will not hurt you with your prospective jobs. They will understand. Do you have a shortage of good references? If so, PM me and I’ll give you some ideas on other options than your current supervisor.

windex's avatar

1. I’d say it depends on the JOB (ex. graphic designer OK)

2. I’ve heard people say “oh if they want to choose between you and one other guy, if they see that you send a note/thank you letter etc. They’d choose you, but I think you both will know once the interview is over if you got it or not, but it can’t hurt..just send it ( $2.99 )

3. Why not, make sure you will NOT get fired and that he/she LIKES YOU and that you’re doing a good job (even though they technically can’t say negative things about you) but if you are his/her best worker, he might actually want to KEEP you (Sabotage…?)

tinyfaery's avatar

Do you think an email would an appropriate way to say thank you? Mailing it might take longer than the decision process.

marinelife's avatar

Email is fine for thank-you notes these days.

windex's avatar

@tinyfaery: Sure why not (better than NOT doing it) but doesn’t mail usually take 1 business day. I’d say if you can, just mail it…

can you tell us what kind of position you are applying for?

Emilyy's avatar

We’re really casual at my work. No one has to cover any tattoos or piercings, facial hair is fine (or it would be if we could get more than like 2 men to work at our org), and fashion is pretty flexible. The executive director at our organization wears jeans and a tee-shirt almost every day, including the days when she interviews newbies. But when an interviewee showed up for a follow-up interview—not even the original interview—in jeans, heels, and a nice shirt, she was axed from the pool. Clearly she had shown up to the first interview, thought that we were casual, and dressed it down a little. But others showed up in slacks and a nice shirt, so they had the upper hand. I’d say, why risk it? You should dress appropriately for the place where you are interviewing (ie, you don’t have to always wear a suit), but I don’t think jeans are ever okay for an interview.

I always send a thank-you note via mail. Assuming you’re applying in your same town, send it right after the interview and it will arrive the next day. I think some might think it’s outdated, but it makes a difference! I’d say emailing is okay but actually writing a personalized note is the best.

If your current boss knows you’re hunting, then ask. Otherwise, prospective job bosses will understand why you can’t give them as a reference.

Good luck!

JohnRobert's avatar

Emailing a thank you note is perfectly acceptable. But more importantly, the note also gives you the perfect opportunity to briefly reinforce how your skills would address a specific need of THEIRS that was discussed during the interview. Keep it a short paragraph though. Don’t write a book or you’ll seem needy. Just the fact that you are following up at all is good.

tinyfaery's avatar

@john Example?

JohnRobert's avatar

Mrs. Interviewer,

Thank you for meeting with me today. It’s great to hear that you are trying to capture more of the widget market share. My past experience in widget manufacturing really helps me to understand the needs of the widget users. This understanding could help you reach your goal faster by creating higher customer loyalty and repeat orders. I look forward to hearing from you.

Thanks again,


tinyfaery's avatar

Ahh. Good one. Thanks.

JohnRobert's avatar

You’re welcome.

Note that for this to work well, you’ll want to probe during the interview to find out what thier challeges are, not just the job description. You can come right out in the interview and ask, “what has been your biggest challenge in trying to _____?” They will feel that you are really trying to understand their needs, and it will give you a chance to differentiate yourself.

jca's avatar

i wouldn’t wear jeans. if i were sure it’s a casual place, i’d wear dress pants, blouse, jacket, dressy flats. for appearance, you want to put your best foot forward. i would also try to wear my hair somewhat not too crazy, not too crazy makeup, jewelry, etc.

i’ve never written a thank you note but everyone says you’re supposed to. it can’t hurt.

i haven’t told present bosses in the past when i was looking for new job. i have told previous bosses that i was putting their names down, so they are prepared and not surprised when and if they get a call. i have been told that nowadays, jobs and personnel depts cannot say bad things about you, all they can say is that you did work there and the dates. this is to avoid lawsuits. what i have been told is that the new job can ask “if you could hire him/her again, would you?” and then the old job can give their yes or no which indicates whether you were good or not.

Emilyy's avatar

Yeah, just to second JohnRobert’s thank-you note example, I think one of the key things about interviewing is to make sure you have some questions prepared about the organization, and then you can use what you learn during the interview about the organization to write a good thank-you note. Ta-da!

Zuma's avatar

1. The point of dressing up for an interview is to show an appropriate degree of respect for your prospective employer. Being over-dressed can show a level of anxiety and desperation that can be even more unbecoming than dressing sloppily. So, dress neatly and better than you normally do, but not so much better that it raises questions about why you feel the need to go to extraordinary lengths.

2. Saying “thank you” never hurts. And there is nothing wrong with reminding a prospetive employer that you are still out there. So, make it count. Time the arrival just short of when they are about to make their decision. (By the way, it’s very appropriate to ask them when they expect to be making their decision when they ask you at the end if you have any questions.)

3. There is no reason to alert your current supervisor that you are unhappy enough to be looking for work elsewhere. The time to ask for a good recommendatino is when you are having your annual performance review and the subject of your advancement is already on the table. Otherwise, wait until you have a firm offer and are ready to tell your supervisor about it.

It is generally in your employer’s interest to give you a positive recommendation. Even if you are only doing a so-so job, it is generally not in his interest to sabotage your chances of movin on. Remember, your bad performance reflects poorly on his judgment on hiring you in the first place, and on his skill as a supervisor if your work continues not to meet expectations. So, there is really no good reason for him to do anything but praise you—unless, of course, you are locked in some kind of death spiral conflict, in which case, you don’t want to have him as a reference at all.

Raggedy_Ann's avatar

I have to second all the responses above. I would also mail a thank you even if you end up, in the end, not getting the job. This will make an impact to your perspective employer and perhaps make them think of you the next time they are looking to hire.

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