By Jenifer Garey, Director of Workforce Development
As I prepared for a TV interview, I was confident in asking the age-old question to my coaches, aka team facilitators, who are on camera all the time: “Do I look ok?” I thought I wanted honest feedback. I thought that I could make some last-minute changes if need be. I thought everyone would say, “Hey, you look great!” None of that happened, so let me tell what you did happen.
I have participated in TV interviews for a large portion of my career and have always felt confident in my ability to rock an in-person interview. I know how to charm someone, how to speak intelligently, how to ask good questions right? For sure! However, doing an interview on Zoom is a whole other story. You have to worry about your background, lighting, camera height, distance between you and the camera, make sure to look at the webcam not around the webcam, but most importantly…hair, make-up, and outfit. This is where things got a bit scary and stressful.
I woke up excited and took extra time with my hair (that means extra hairspray to avoid any stray hairs sticking up), my make-up (that means just the right color of lipstick), and outfit (that means something bright that complimented my skin tone). I was confident I looked good! So I hopped on a Zoom call with my coaches, aka favorite facilitators, and asked, “Do I look ok?” The faces looking back at me on that Zoom call were not ones filled with encouragement, so our story begins.
I wore a pink sweater and accented the color combo with pink lipstick (not too pink) and some pink shades of eye shadow and blush (feeling my theme here?). The first comment right away was “Hmmm, I am not sure that sweater will work.” Really!? I wore a pink shirt the last time and everyone loved it. Ok, no problem, I am open to feedback – let me change. Change #1 was not met with enthusiasm. I thought that it was a shade of rust, something with an autumn feel to it. The response was “You call that rust?” Yes, yes, I do. Change #2 went only slightly better with a teal version. The response was “Ok, not great but better”. Then came the clincher, make up, more specifically lipstick. The shade wasn’t right, I hadn’t blended it well with the lip liner (I wasn’t wearing lip liner), don’t blot, maybe you should just start over. This is where I decided I was a mess. Without even giving it a second thought I dug out all the lipstick, Q-tips, and my mirror and literally started over, on camera. I removed my lipstick, started over, mixed two or three shades, blotted the lipstick, and started over again. One would think enough was enough, but no, there was more. The final statement was I needed a different necklace, perhaps a statement piece. I had to ask what a statement piece was only to find out that I didn’t in fact own one. At that point, I figured ok this is as good as it gets, so I shared that sentiment and left the Zoom call to tried to recapture my “zone” before the interview started.
While the interview went well and was over in probably 5 minutes, I had to think about my own reaction to all of the feedback that I had received. It was honest feedback and I appreciated every bit of it, but wow. I mean who stays on a Zoom call with co-workers and does their lipstick not once, but twice? If I am being honest, it may have been three times. I was truly a mess.
But all of this made me take pause. Part of what we do at Goodwill is help prepare people for interviews. It doesn’t matter whether it is TV, virtual job interviews or in person job interviews. We do it all and we do it well. I think we give great feedback to clients before they interview. But maybe I wasn’t ready for it. Sometimes you have open yourself up to criticism in order to shine, and sometimes that criticism is unexpected and hard to hear. Goodwill is a family much like your own who will support you, encourage you, as well as help you grow even when the growth is painful. Ultimately, we strive to see others succeed and will do what it takes to make it happen.
Now, where do I get a statement piece????