There’s business casual and then there’s….

Today someone came into the office to scope out job opportunities wearing gym shorts and a stained t-shirt.  He had a baseball cap on and it looked like he just rolled out of bed.

We had the candidate fill out a job application and we spoke to him for a few minutes about what he’s looking for.  He told us he was just fired from his last job and needed to find something new.  His phone was going to be shut off and he complained about everything under the sun.

Great first impression, right?  While, SharpLink isn’t the hiring manager or the actual company you would report to for work every day, here are some basic principals about looking for a job that should be applied regardless.

1. A job is a job is a job. Treat this interview with the same seriousness and professionalism as a permanent position. Whether the role is for six weeks or six years, everyone wants to see that the person they hire will be dressed appropriately, show up on time and can articulate why they want the job (hint: the answer isn’t “I need the money.”).

2. Dress the best. Increasingly, offices are employing a policy of casual attire, and if you are specifically told so, you may dress casually for the interview.

Casual attire does not mean shorts, sneakers, old t-shirts, flip-flops or tank tops.

A simple button down shirt and a pair of well-fitted pants or knee-length skirt will do (or a simple dress for women). If in doubt, wear a tie, gentlemen. Ladies, easy on the perfume – some people are allergic or simply very sensitive to strong scents.

3. Know thyself. You should be prepared to answer why you want a job with a staffing agency, or, if the agency has sent you on an interview with one of their clients, why you want that role.  Research the company in advance and identify something that you find interesting about the organization – their core values, their mission statement, the areas of specialization, their history . . . something. Just as they want to know why they should pick you, they also want to know why you are picking them.

4. Don’t come up short on why you’re working short term. If you are asked on a staffing agency interview about your interest in temporary work instead of permanent employment, answer honestly. But your answer can’t sound desperate.  Don’t say, “I couldn’t find a real job.” Instead, explain, “I’m interested in the potential of this role… Or, “I would like to see multiple employment environments before I decide where I want to be long term.”

5. Be ready to represent. Don’t forget that part of the staffing agency interview is not just about being a good fit with that agency (having the right experience, availability, compensation goals) but also about being the right kind of candidate for their clients. Your interview with the agency is a rehearsal for an interview for specific jobs.

When you go into a temporary assignment, you represent the staffing agency brand. They have made commitments about what kind of talent they can deliver. And you need to meet those expectations.

Again, be prepared for the interview. Leave yourself plenty of time to allow for traffic or a missed bus. Have extra copies of your resume. Make sure your phone is fully charged, but on silent or vibrate. And then relax. The interviewer is a person, too, and they want to hire someone that they feel that they can work with.