Friday Professional Group


The Winter Interview Wonderland

A friend of mine buried neck-deep in snow up in Edmonton and getting ready for an interview sent me a text message yesterday saying “why don’t you do a blog about interviewing in the winter?!” Thanks for the great idea, Stephanie, and I hope your interview was wonderful!

Interviews can be stressful at the best of times and nasty weather just adds one more variable into your preparations – but as long as you do factor the weather into your interview prep, there should be no reason to let some Alberta snowstorm get in the way of you getting there and giving a great interview.

Let’s face it – the getting there can be the most daunting part of that “getting to an interview in inclement weather” proposition, especially if you are interviewing in an unfamiliar part of town. A standard interviewing tip is to know where you’re going and to plan to be there 5-10 minutes early – I would propose that this is doubly important when the weather is frightful. If you’re driving, I’d recommend leaving double the time you would normally allot to travel – and inform yourself about the parking situation! Especially when the snow flies, parking in some parts of Calgary can be difficult to find and expensive. You’ll want to leave enough room in your travel time for parking and possibly walking to the interview location. I am an ardent fan of the 660 News Traffic Twitter feed (@660NewsTraffic) for checking up-to-the-minute traffic information before I leave the house, and radio stations in Calgary announce frequent traffic updates especially during rush hours. Also, Google Maps’ Street View service (https://www.google.com/maps/views/home?hl=en-CA&gl=ca) lets you get a peek at the area around an unfamiliar address if you’re not able to drive down in advance to get a feel for the location – it can give you some good hints on parking. The Calgary Parking Authority (www.calgaryparking.com) also lists lot locations around the city. 

We all appreciate Calgary Transit’s hard work moving people around our big city; and it’s understandable that bad weather can snarl traffic and transit alike. The Calgary Transit Twitter feed (@calgarytransit) is one of the best I’ve ever seen for keeping customers up to date on delays and for responding to queries quickly and accurately. The Calgary Transit website (www.calgarytransit.ca) offers a great trip-planning service – but remember that when it snows, delays on busses and C-trains can occur, and leave yourself even more extra time. Again, we usually recommend that you arrive 5-10 minutes early for an interview, but I think a few minutes even earlier than that is completely understandable and even a good sign when the weather is bad – it gives a good impression that you planned ahead.

Are bad roads ever an excuse for arriving at an interview late? Well…I talked to one of our recruiters, and while she wouldn’t come out and say “no, they’re not ever an excuse,” she agrees with me that if you’re leaving yourself extra time and planning ahead, chances are good you can take “bad roads making you late” out of the equation altogether. As with any unexpected delay, though, always call as soon as you realize you’ll be delayed and offer to reschedule.

So, you’re going to be on time – fantastic! But what will you wear? Even if you’re fortunate enough to be driving to an interview, that pesky Calgary parking situation means you’ll likely want to be bundled up and especially wearing puddle-and-ice-proof footwear! You’ll still want to look polished and professional, however – wool overcoats are preferable to down jackets for a sharper look, and you can’t go wrong with sensible black boots for a professional image. I’ve heard of people covering their boots with plastic bags to get from the car to the door – as long as those plastic bags are hidden away in a coat pocket before coming into the office, I say “whatever works.”  Some experts also advise, especially for people who aren’t driving to their interview, wearing winter boots and then changing them in the washroom; bringing along a bag to keep them with their overcoat. This would work out at our office – we have a spot where I keep my winter boots, in fact – but I’d hesitate to recommend it for an interview at other offices where I wasn’t sure of their coat-closet situation. It isn’t quite as professional as choosing footwear which can hold up to both the outdoors and the interview setting. (Bringing shoes to change into is preferable, though, to wearing clunky snow boots into an interview). A nice, warm, solid-colored scarf, gloves (not ski gloves!), and a pair of earmuffs completes your on-my-way-to-an-interview-in-the-winter look. Plus, while you’re planning all that extra time – add on a couple of minutes for a washroom break to make sure the elements haven’t gotten to your hair!

I really believe there are enough things to worry about when you land an interview, so winter wreaking havoc on your plans doesn’t have to be one of them. Remember to leave yourself lots of extra time (more than usual), know exactly where you’re going, and be confident in what you’re wearing to arrive there warm and safe!

 

-Rae, First Impressions Coordinator

 

 

Photo credit: The New York Post

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