Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Are you being served?

Ground floor:
perfumery, stationery and leather goods, wigs and haberdashery, kitchenware and food.
Going up...

Would you give this woman a job?

She's fairly bright, can string a sentence together, has a smattering of social skills, turns up on time, and is willing to work for minimum wage, while smiling and burying her natural bile and sarcasm deep within for the duration of the working day.

I passed my telephone interview on Monday, and I have been invited to a Recruitment Event tomorrow, which involves group and individual interviews.

Since I usually dress like this...

... I drew a bit of a blank in my wardrobe when searching for some suitable interview wear.
So I panicked, and went and bought something new.

It still has its tags on, I might change my mind and take it back, but so far, I'm thinking it's OK.
Vix suggested wearing my green 1950s jacket, and who am I to disagree?

I know I can't go for an interview for a high street store dressed head to toe in vintage. 
And I know that if I am offered a job, I will be expected to wear a uniform. 
And I don't want them to write me off from the get-go as a maverick who can't play by the rules. 
But I also feel the need to keep just a little bit of me in the mix. 

1950s brocade jacket - Second to None
Betty Jackson Black @ Debenhams dress - retail, sale (linking cos I want a job)
Shoes and bangles - charity shopped
Micromosaic brooch - charity vintage sale

I might swap out these tights for nude fishnets or sheer black; I might take off the fabric tie belt that came with the dress and add a narrow green leather one.

Over-thinking it? 
You betcha.

The last interview I had was 3 years ago. 
It was for a job which I should have been able to do with my eyes closed, linked as it was to my old career in mental health. The role was well within my professional skill set and experience.

The panel of interviewers had a sheet in front of them where they ticked a box as I said what they wanted to hear. As the interview progressed, I was aware that they were looking at me, and not ticking anything. 
I, quite literally, did not tick m/any of their boxes. And there was me, thinking that was merely a metaphor...

So, err, yeah, I'm feeling a bit anxious. Forgive me.
I want not to care. I want to laugh about it, and be dismissive of a recruitment process which seems disproportionately intensive for the position of temporary shop assistant .  
But I also want the job. 
I want to get back into paid employment, to have half a hope of starting again as a working person, with earning potential. I want my kids to see me as able to do something other than cooking and ironing. Only Eldest (just about) remembers me as a working mum.

(As always, no disrespect to stay-at-home mums intended at all. Only speaking for myself, no judgment implied about anyone else.)

1970s maxi dress - gift from that divine cover girl Helga
1970s English Lady lurex blouse - Ebay
Sandals and necklace - retail (sale)
Bangles and belt - charity shopped 

I thought I would get my vintage colour on today, to get it out of my system before tomorrow!
The blouse was a freebie; I bought the matching maxi skirt on Ebay, and the seller included the top in the parcel, which was kind.

So here I am, pondering the elements of good customer service, what skills I have to offer, and how to sell frocks. Or bras. Or toys. Or sheets.

Wish me luck!



Vix said...

That new dress is fabulous, it's a great fit and easy to dress up or down so a big yeah! The Second To None jacket marks you out as an individual but shows you've made an effort to look smart and business-like and can conform if needs be. I'd give you the job tomorrow (and I promise you I'm not on the panel!) Despite being a bit mad I've interviewed applicants for years and I can tell a great employee when I see one. Interviewers make up their minds before you've draw breath, it's all in the way you hold and present yourself - just call me Siralan!
Love the last gasp of colour in the red maxi and belted blue jacket and can't wait to give you a ginormous squeeze in three days time!
GOOD LUCK! Love ya! xxxxxxx

Ariane Lasalle said...

All the best of luck to you, i hope you get it, if not, you will find something else, I'm certain<
You should see the shop assistant here in Montreal, head to toe, vintage, piercing, muffin caps and all unless your work in a high end store not really stiff here -
I'm sure you will able to incorporate some of your frocks in your future workplace, just go slowly...

You are the best!and love what you are wearing for the work interview, that 50s jacket is just right -

Ariane xo

Anonymous said...

Firstly all the love and luck in securing this position.
You look fabulous in the new dress, it fits you superbly an the jacket is a perfect touch and I'm loving your t-bat heels they're a perfect touch.

Sue @ A Colourful Canvas said...

Oh, the very best of luck Curtise! Collectively, we will all send positive thoughts your way. The hiring process sounds intense for a sales position. I guess that reflects the job market in London at present? More people than available jobs? Makes it tough. It's difficult to comment on the outfit, because I am unfamiliar with the store you are applying to. If they provide uniforms for employees, it sounds as though they lean heavily towards conservative. Having said that, the dress looks professional and flattering. The jacket is definitely a must do in my opinion. Takes you infinitely up the scale from ho-hum to memorable in a very good way!

Again, the very best of luck!

Melanie said...

The boxes are all checked with that professional little outfit. The interviewers would be mad not to recognize your dazzling brain power, style, good humour, and grace in an instant. I'm glad you've made it past the first round and my fingers and toes are crossed for the next stage.
This is just the beginning for you and I cheer your courage and determination to make a change, which is always a hard thing to do.
Just love the screamingly red beauty of the maxi and blue top. Hopefully soon you'll be the one writing the workplace dress code.

Connie said...

The new dress is terrif. And I agree with Vix. The green jacket is perfect. They would be nuts not to hire you. I've been in your exact same position. It is a bit nerve wracking, isn't it? Good Luck!!!!!

Carina Rosenholm said...

Oh darling you look great in that new dress! And do hope with all my heart that they do realize that you are the one and that the Job is yours!

Loo xx from Jumbles and Pompoms said...

Interviews are always hideous and nerve racking so I can really sympathise. Here's hoping that the panel will be ticking those boxes for you (they'd be fools not to). Love the black dress with the green jacket and blue shoes. Sending you lots of positive vibes and wishing you good luck. xx

Anonymous said...

You look good in the dress & I'm sure it will be very suitable for the interview. I think Vix is right that the '50s jacket goes well with it - you still look like you but very businesslike.
Good luck for tomorrow - I hope you get the

Sheila said...

Woo hoo! I love the green jacket over the dress - it does add some personality and will make you stand out ("hey, let's hire that woman in the green jacket") amongst the bland. Funny, I wore a green dress with a black jacket for a job fair, and got 7 interviews out of it (they really liked me, but I wasn't a fit for any of the postions they had, arg).

Best of luck - sending good vibes (with an 8 hour time dif) to you! You will rock it!

two squirrels said...

Good luck..........but you will get the job I am sure.......because you are amazing.........and look totally gorgeous in the black dress.
What a truly beautiful style on you and the green 50's jacket gives it the wonderful vintage style you do so well.
Happiness to Curtise.
Love v

Secret Squirrel said...

Best of luck with the interview, I think the chosen outfit is just right! You need a mix of anonymous/low key and personality in interview outfits, imho. Often the people interviewing you will not be the people you will be working with. Repeat the words in the person spec back to them in your answers - enthusiastic, hard-working etc. come across as a safe pair of hands, not a difficult person (which you are not), someone that can be relied on. In retail, I know all too well that there are never enough people for the work, and the not-in-charge managers get very squeezed. Hiring the right person for the holidays felt a bit make or break in those frazzled times.
Will X my fingers for you.

Also, I would love to come to Birmingham on Saturday but it just won't work :-( I am fighting off a sinus ingpfection and need to rest up. Buy up all the charity shop bargains on my behalf! I would like to join you in Wetherspoons in the none-too-distant future, please xxx

Sandra said...

I had the interview hideous 'what do I wear moment?' but I found having something 'me' made me a little more relaxed - your interview combo is professional, and your jacket is you, and they will snap you up in a minute! your vintage colour on is gorgeous, good luck for tomorrow Missus!!! x x

freckleface said...

I love that new dress you've invested in and it is not wasted on me that you bought it in the very shop you hope will employ you. That style and length looks amazing with your figure. Mark my words, it's a keeper.

RE this long-winded and thorough interview process - I take it you are going for the Chief Executive position? They would be mad not to take you. I really hope you get it, because I know it is what you need for you at the moment. Of course I am slightly concerned that it is going to get in the way of bloggy get togethers, but I'm going to be mature about it. :) Good luck, good luck, good luck! xxxxxx

PinkCheetahVintage said...

I love the little LBD!!! That is sort of the thing I wear daily with the kids because it requires no thinking and is hard to mess up lolzzzzz
Good luck on the interview!! What are you going to spend your extra $$$$ on??

Helga! said...

You check all my boxes, baby!
I understand your anxiety, I am not the most confident about any skills I may have, and am terrible at talking myself I loathe interviews.
The black frock is really lovely, and I adore the jacket with it!!! You are so bloody awesome, and you just need a little encouragement and a break, and you'll be away! I've got everything crossed for you, and I am sendng my uber powers of love!XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

Miss Magpie said...

That green jacket really makes the outfit. Everything crossed for tomorrow. x

Diane said...

Very very good luck sweety. When I used to interview peeps, we used to ask questions like " Give examples of when you.... gave good customer service....went the extra mile " etc etc. Use examples of recent experiences ie in fund raising for school etc and give examples where you have received good - and bad customer service. I really hope you get it xxxxx

Kelly Jackson said...

Well, Curtise, I think the outfit is perfect: lovely yet functional black dress, with a killer vintage jacket and shoes that express more of who you are. I know it,s not easy when you don,t fit into the corporate (or other) mould. I tried for years and never succeeded - and have had several box-ticker interviews along the way. All you can do is turn on your natural charm and be yourself while showing you can work within their framework. Hopefully there will be a more human element to the interview - all the best and let us know how it goes!(Btw I cannot get my apostrophe to work so I am avoiding contractions where possible and using commas in their place when necessary). xo

señora Allnut said...

I think you still look very You even though wearing a black dress. Your green jacket and pretty accessories make it looks better and more interesting but still very 'professional'.
(But I really prefer you wearing your colorful maxi and shiny blue blouse!!
wish you lots of luck and confidence!

Miss Maple said...

I think your outfit for the job interview is perfect. I wouldn't even change the tights. All is looking very serious and respectable. I'm crossing my fingers for you!

Angels have Red Hair said...

You look just the right combination of style and professionalism ... it's perfect. They'd be mad not to give you the job.

Anonymous said...

GOOD LUCK - and remember you're interviewing them as much as they are interviewing you.

Don't sweat the box tickers - I failed a personality test once at an interview lol.(They were oh so vogueish in the 80s).

p.s. you look bloody awesome in the green and black

daiseedeb said...

The black and green ensemble is fab! Love that green jacket. Sending positive thoughts your way, and willing you to get that job you want so dearly.
I'd hire ya!
; )

Patti said...

It's a wonderful interview ensemble, Curtise, you look fabulous and competent and ready to go to work. I have been in this spot a few times too, and it does create anxiety -- knowing full well we can tackle any job, but still having to be "chosen". Lots of luck and long-distance squeezes to you for tomorrow. xox

Amber of Butane Anvil said...

Fantastic interview outfit, excellent choices! And 'ordinary' super-colours outfit too! You are tremendous. All best with the interview, xoxoxoxoxo

Jan Graham-McMillen said...

Tell them you have excellent character references in at least 10 countries. (I mean all of us...)
Really, the LBD is lovely ... I like the idea of the colored belt ... bet you have all colors. I also like the self-belt. Graceful.
Very cute shoes.
So much luck, and I hope your interview goes just how you want it to!
You go, Curtise!

Francie said...

Best of luck on the jog interview. Such a plus that you won't have to buy a working wardrobe since they have a uniform. The black dress and jacket look great. Go get 'em girl!

Brooke F said...

I would definitely give that woman a job! Good luck on the interview. I am sure your intelligence, wit, enthusiasm and integrity shall shine through and it doesn't hurt that your interview outfit is fab.

CityScape Skybaby said...

Good luck with the interview Curtise, I think you've put together a great outfit for it, smart but still individual. It is nerve wracking, but you have loads of brilliant qualities so if they've any sense at all they'll see that. Fingers crossed for you! xx

Veshoevius said...

I think you should definitely keep an element of you in your interview outfit and the green jacket is perfect and I like the green belt idea. Best of luck for it!! I do hope you get it. What an amazing contrast to see you in workwear verus your customary colourful, vintage fabulous style. I'm reminded quite starkly of the contrast between the sombre colours and conservative cuts I often have to wear for work and what I love wearing off duty. It's a lucky minority who get to wear what they truly want to to work. It requires discipline to put aside ideas of what you'd normally like wearing in favour of something that looks professional without totally losing your personality on the way. So well done!

Emma Kate at Painted Style said...

Wishing you the best of luck Curtise! The outfit is perfect. Professional with a touch of flair. You would be perfect for any role. If others don't see that, there will be some other (better) oportunity down the line. That's the way these things work.
Knock 'em dead! xxxx

Edie Pop said...

Good luck Curtise!!!! You really can sell me everything! I understand how you feel and I apprecciate that you are sharing with us your thoughts and insecurities, but I'm sure you are the perfect candidate for the job!
I also love the new dress, especially because is easy to personalize and the version with the green jacket is so elegant!! Fingers crossed!!
Love xxxxxx

Vintage Bird Girl said...

You look lovely Curtise....the black frock is just right, & I love the touch of green with the jacket. Go for it Sista! Xx

Indigo Violet said...

If it were up to me, I would give you the job in a heartbeat!

Tamera Wolfe said...

They would be crazy NOT to hire you!!

I love the new dress--it's simple enough that you can play with it. The green jacket looks fabulous with it!! It shows you have STYLE!!

love the maxi outfit, too. Gorgeous colors on you!

Sacramento Amate said...

Really fantastic blackdress. I would give you a job inmediatelly. Well I would with any of your attires, dear Curtise.

joyatri said...

I think the interviewers will see that you are obviously a woman with charm, wit and style and gobble you up for the job. I'd buy frocks, bras or toys (and I have no need for toys!) from you in that outfit. I agree that you need to wear at least one piece of vintage to feel like yourself. Good luck.

Krista Gassib said...

I'm late but I do hope today's interview goes beyond well! You look fierce and Vix is right to add the jacket, still a bit of you poking out. I think is wonderful you want to work and that you want the kids to see you working, I think that is important too, especially for the girls. No disrespect to stay at home moms either.

I am crossing everything in the hopes this pans out. Best of luck love!

thorne garnet said...

you look totally ready for any job that comes your way. Good luck!

Dawn Elliott said... did it go?
I think that your new dress is a winner and that it looks GREAT with the vintage green blazer! I'm a sucker for vintage and also for individuality...but I do understand that there are conservatives out there to (occasionally) please.
I hope all went well and that you got/get a job deserving of your many talents and skills! Regardless, interviews usually suck, yes?

The Small Fabric Of My Life said...

I think the dress and green jacket would be perfect for the interview.
The working world is such a jungle.
Good Luck.
If you don't get it, it won't be a reflection on you.

Lakota [Faith Hope and Charity Shopping] said...

I think you look gorgeous in your interview outfit - it won't be too 'out there' for corporate world, but it retains your trademark colour and individual style. I know what you mean about your kids 'seeing you work' - Boy2 sometimes says things which make him sound like 1950s man, and he's only 5. I don't want him thinking Mummy is a lazy arse (Although I am, obviously). Mainly I want to be able to make money from home, in my dressing gown. But legally, you know - I'm not talking about entertaining gentlemen callers.
Best of luck anyway - you tick all my boxes!

Val Sparkle said...

Good luck! Green is supposed to be a lucky color, isn't it? I love the jacket and the shoes, and I'm sure you'll impress. Then you can suppress the bile with a smile just like the rest of us.

Forest City Fashionista said...

Definitly wear the black dress with the green jacket - you look professional but not stodgy, and it's very flattering! I'm keeping my fingers crossed for you and sending positive vibes. How could they not want you (well,the bile swallowing can be a bit offputting but we've all done that, and it becomes second nature after a while).

Interviews are scary, but just be yourself (try not to say "Fuck", you need to ease up to that).

Radostin said...

Good luck! Your look inspires confidence, IMHO. Always a highly desirable characteristic for a salesperson, so I should think you'll get the job.

Ulla-Marie Nilsson said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ulla-Marie Nilsson said...

The Lady in the green brocade jacket will get the job!

Jane George said...

good luck my lovely...although now it's done, but good luck with the results x

The Style Crone said...

I'm sure that you made the best of impressions, with your many skills and your radiant self, dressed in whatever you chose for the interview.

Vicky Hayes said...

Bless! Good luck Curtise! Vicky x