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“Who are you wearing?! Who are you wearing?!” When I was watching this past weekend’s Oscars Red Carpet I could hear the press shouting this question to the who’s who of Hollywood. It got me thinking about this question: “Who are you wearing when you show up to an interview?”

Now, I’m not trying to say that landing a face-to-face interview is an event that you wait your entire life to achieve like the folks on the Red Carpet this weekend. At least I hope it’s not taking you a lifetime. What I am saying is that it’s an event and one of the first times to make a lasting first impression on your future employer.

What attitude and energy are you wearing to that interview? How are you showing up? I know you feel like you got this in the bag but are you prepared? Confidence is great accessory but without Preparation, you may be exposing yourself to a branding wardrobe malfunction.

Most interview processes deal with several layers of vetting. Phone screens, assessments for skill, salary pre screens to see if your target salary matches what the company is prepared to offer and then the face-to-face interviews. Let’s say that you get the coveted invitation to meet with the hiring manager. What do you do next?

After doing a quick Snoopy dance, you need to focus on what’s happening. Did you get all of the information you need to be prepared to show up? Do you need to bring any type of presentation or portfolio of your work? More importantly did you get the correct time, date and address of where you’re supposed to be? Did you repeat it to the scheduler to confirm you have all of the right information?

Have you reviewed the job description? Do you understand what’s being expected of this role and how you can add value to the company’s bottom line? How are you going to help make this company more successful? Do you have any questions about the role, the leadership style of the person you’d be reporting to, and did you look at the company’s performance to understand how the business works?

Can you clearly discuss your experiences and how your skills and abilities can help benefit the company? Do you know how to explain why you left your last job or why you’re looking for another opportunity? Did you iron your shirt? Did you wash the ink stamp from last night’s club off your hand? Are you the picture of success inside and out?

Oh my goodness! I’m asking you too many questions! Why can’t I just let you coast and improvise the interview?! Remember that branding wardrobe malfunction I mentioned at the beginning of my blog? This may be your one opportunity in person to show this employer what unique talents you possess and how you can make this company shine. Not being prepared is like having spinach stuck in your teeth for class picture day and nobody cares to tell you about it until it’s too late. I’m telling you about the spinach in your teeth now! Check yourself before you wreck yourself!

Searching for the interview responses in the ceiling, not researching the company or not asking any questions of the employer can be huge misses. You’ll trip and fall on that Interview Red Carpet and the be an interview Don’t versus an interview Do.

Take the time to invest in getting yourself prepared for this interview. Make sure you get plenty of rest the night before. You can do this! The Association for Psychological Science says it only takes “7 seconds to make a good first impression”. Show up to that Interview Red Carpet (preferably 10 minutes early- that’s “on time”) and when the company paparazzi are asking you who you’re wearing you can answer confidently “Preparation”.