From Outfits to Handshaking: How to Handle a Winter Job Interview Like a Pro

By Erin Coursey, iHire, LLC
           
Young woman wearing stocking cap and heavy scarf for winter job interview

For job seekers in temperate climates, the winter months represent a host of challenges to overcome. Between frequent illnesses and additional rules for winter interview attire, extra details can easily pile up into one big headache. Arm yourself against cold weather catastrophes with these winter job interview tips.

Check the weather.

Look up the forecast before leaving your home to avoid getting caught unprepared for volatile weather. In addition to your go-to winter interview attire, make sure to prepare for wet days as well. Have a simple, neutral-colored umbrella on hand to take with you when there is a high chance of precipitation. Choose waterproof, sensible, and professional footwear as your winter interview shoes for icy or slushy days.

Budget extra travel time.

Allow yourself at least 15% more time to get to the interview than you would in warmer seasons. Between slower public transit and worse road conditions for cars, your commute time may increase significantly in cold weather.

Layer as necessary.

Layering your clothing is a good option if you’re worried that your winter interview outfit will be too warm for a toasty office. If you choose to add a sweater to the ensemble, make sure to try it on several days ahead of time to ensure that it doesn’t bulge or cause your shirt to bunch up into unsightly lumps. Verify that your look is polished and professional, regardless of how many layers you’re sporting.

Dress to the weather.                    

Don’t try to make your favorite summer interview outfit work for a winter job interview. Wearing something massively out of season will mark you as odd and leave potential employers wondering about your choice to freeze rather than focusing on your relative merits for the position. Stick with cold weather business attire. Good options include knee-length overcoats (covering any blazers or suit jackets); pants, thick tights, or a full-length skirt; and a pair of practical winter interview shoes like loafers, dress boots, or flats.

Use outerwear to your advantage.

One of the best features cold weather business attire has to offer is a wide range of outerwear options. Wear gloves to prevent startling, icy handshakes. Scarves are excellent for keeping your interview outfit dry on snowy days. A knit cap will keep your ears warm while keeping your head dry—but stick to umbrellas instead if you’re at risk of hat hair.

Prevent a gross-out.

If you’re going to be outside for a significant amount of time right before your interview, take tissues with you. Use the lobby or building next door to recover from the cold and blow your nose before tracking down the hiring manager. A runny nose never makes a good first impression!

Keep the outside, outside.

Respect the interview space. When your coat and scarf are covered in snow, politely ask if there is a place to leave your things so they don’t drip on the floor. Do your best to wipe muddy shoes off on a mat. If there isn’t a place to clean your footwear, simply minimize the damage by walking directly to your seat.

Practice healthy habits.

Flu season is the worst time for passing germs. If you feel the need to cough, cover your mouth with your arm (not hand). Also, wash your hands before and after the meeting to avoid giving your potential employer a virus… or getting one yourself. Already have a cold? Don’t forget to use your favorite (non-drowsy!) cold remedy.

 

Winter interviews may come with their own set of additional issues and obstacles, but they don’t have to be stressful. Practice the tips above in your own upcoming job interviews, and you’ll be ready to warm the hiring manager’s heart—and land your dream job!

 

Sources:

Darlene Peer – What to Wear to an Interview in the Winter

Kristan Morin – Winter Interviews

           

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