JobFace

What to Wear to an Interview

Nik Macmillan

Nik Macmillan

You have come this far, and now you have an interview - what do you wear?

With a suit being given a run for it’s money by jeans and a T-shirt, it’s fair to say choosing an outfit has become a little more complicated. An interview is meant for you to be queried, and dare I say it the judged, so it’s important you do your research.

Below are some pointers as to what to consider when it comes to choosing your outfit.

Research the Company

It’s likely you have already done your due diligence, but take a look at the company again, is it a really relaxed company that frames itself in the same class as google or Red Bull? Or does it look a little more suit orientated e.g. it’s a law firm or an energy company? If their website doesn’t make it obvious you can always check out their social media accounts. If it’s still not obvious it’s likely best to be cautious.

Research the Role

So you find out you are interviewing with a fairly relaxed tech company, but what role are you interviewing for? If you are interviewing for a data scientist role maybe it’s okay to be a little more relaxed, but if you are interviewing for an investor-facing or client-facing role it might be worth considering that. You might be working around people in jeans and a t-shirt, but you might be working with companies and/or individuals who have a more formal attire.

Accessories and Colours

Unless you are interviewing for a fashion based role, it’s usually best to keep the bright colours and bulky jewellery to a minimum. An overload of both can be pretty distracting and ultimately might detract from what you are saying. It might seem over the top, but as humans we undoubtedly make connections between what colours we see and what this might predict, for example the age old wear blue or red to seem powerful. It’s true and according to this paper might be because we see them as dominant.

Do You

Having just given you some suggestions I now want to say - do you. If you have an interview with a law firm and you want to wear a bold pink suit because that makes you feel confident and feel like you, then go for it. Likewise if you want to wear a three piece suit to an interview for a jeans and t-shirt company because you know you can do your job in it, then go for it. And if you don’t get the job because of what you like to wear, then that company probably wasn’t for you.

Jobface

Simon Tefula - Founder of TRENDiPEOPLE

Simon Tefula - Founder of TRENDiPEOPLE

Simon Tefula - Founder of TRENDiPEOPLE

Simon Tefula is a serial entrepreneur. He started out with a Law Degree from Manchester University & a Masters in HR & Business Studies but quickly found his way into the Startup world where he is now, among other things, a start-up coach. I chatted with him to see what drives him.

 

AL – So you have had many jobs, which we will get to, but what was your first job? Did you have a job at school?

ST - My first job was at B&Q stacking shelves, it was when I was at school. I always just worked, I don’t remember a time when I didn’t work.

 

AL – So you were quite academic too?

ST – Well at school I did Law, Economics and Business Studies for A-Level, so quite academic. My dad just wanted us all to get a good job. I then went to study Law at Manchester University. After realising Law wasn’t for me, I decided to study a Masters in HR & Business Studies at Aston.

 

AL – What was that like?

ST – I really liked learning Law, but I’m quite a creative person, and at trials for instance you have to wear really straight, modest, grey clothing that has no personality and I didn’t really like that, I like to wear bold clothing, so I wanted to do something different. I decided to get a job at a Start-up after uni that helped companies apply for EU funding. At that time there was a lot of EU funding available, it was easy funding so we helped them fill out all the necessary legal forms to apply.

 

AL – It must have been pretty interesting to see all the companies?

ST -  Yea, definitely it was nice to help them, and it was quite easy to do, but if you don’t know how to do legal paperwork it could have been really tough to approach stuff like that.

 

AL – I can confirm that trying to figure out a lot of paperwork is incredibly daunting. I think the first time I did anything like that I went over it, knowing it was probably common sense, but I didn’t want to miss one thing and pay for it. How long did you stay there?

ST – Exactly! If you don’t know it can be confusing, but once you do understand it it’s straight forward.

I was there for about 18 months, and then I decided to go and do a Masters in HR at Birmingham. My parents lived there, but I lived in Uni Halls. It was quite good. HR is really all about understanding the psychology that motivates people. This course taught me how to understand people and their psychology. I also learnt how to create and run training programmes.  

 

AL – Why a masters in HR?

ST – I wanted to understand people a bit more, I also wanted to try something different from Law but complemented Law. It was 2008 so it was around the time companies first started using Social Media to engage with customers. It was really interesting to see, so I did my dissertation on how companies could use social media to engage customers before it was really a mainstream thing. I also looked into whether or not companies could create an internal social media networks for their employees, kind of like an internal Facebook. I thought it would be such a good idea. It was quite funny because really just after I’d completed my dissertation, a company called Yammer started licensing an internal software that provided just that. Yammer  did so well they were eventually bought by Microsoft.

 

AL – That’s pretty cool, quite fortuitous of you. Your dissertation also sounds quite fortuitous, were many companies using Social Media back then? Maybe it’s my age, but I thought it was a fairly recent thing?

ST -  They were using it a little, it was only really Facebook then, and also websites. At the time my brother and I were just having a bit of fun and started taking pictures of people wearing quite weird, and interesting things around campus. We did it just for fun, just because you would see some colourful outfits. We turned it into a blog called studentfashionblog.co.uk. Really basic idea, but we did it enough and eventually fashion brands started contacting us saying they would give us free clothes for these people to wear if we photograph them. It was just as a joke really but it was the first time we had seen brands offering free stuff for content.

 

AL – That is pretty early, I really thought brands would have been slower to uptake that kind of content. What happened to the StudentFashionBlog?

ST - Eventually we sold it on. A guy offered to buy it from us and we were never really in it for the money, just for fun, so we sold it to him.

 

AL – And then what?

ST – I went to work for a PR firm for a bit. They needed someone to help with their Social Media and I now had a bit of experience. I wasn’t there for too long though. I got an idea for this platform, kind of like Twitter but for fashion. I realised that the problem with the fashion & beauty industry was that they promoted a distorted and harmful image of ‘beauty.’ I believed then and still believe now that every single person is a unique and beautiful individual in their own way. I decided to create fashion social network that enabled anyone to celebrate and share their individuality through fashion while getting rewarded. The idea was for a website or software where people could post pictures of themselves and start their own trends while getting rewarded by brands. I hired developers to build the first version of it. However eventually I got too nervous. It wasn’t my industry, and my business model relied on too much advertising. I realised that I’d need hundreds of thousands or even more people to make a success of it so I decided to park the idea as I was not going to be able to afford developing and maintaining it while we try to secure advertisers. In between that I went back into full time jobs while trying to figure out my next move.

 

AL – You thought it would take too much time?

ST – Yes. It was just a big risk, and I wasn’t sure. Eventually I decided to spend some time travelling to East African. It was really good for me. People in that part of the world are very entrepreneurial so it was great checking out the opportunities available there.

 

AL – Are they just always hustling?

ST – Most people in East Africa, have to be very creative due to the lack of job opportunities. Those that are lucky enough to have a job also have other jobs side hustles/jobs. When I was in Uganda, one of the things that I noticed was that many NGO’s and charities that are meant to be helping the locals tend to employ a significant number of western staff and few locals. The majority of their products and services were very much procured from western countries. Their cars, the food, the clothing. This lead me to question whether most people in the west truly understand how these international charities really operate on the ground.

 

AL – And how did this help you when you came back to the U.K.?

ST – It made me appreciate all the opportunities that I had living the UK. I decided to invest in myself and improve my skills as you can never go wrong with that. I wanted practical skills, so I decided to get my LPC* at Cardiff. While in Cardiff I struggled to find an Afro Caribbean barber that was close enough to my flat. This created that light bulb moment to create a platform that connected people with skill in fashion and beauty to clients.

 

AL – What is TRENDiPEOPLE?

ST – TRENDiPEOPLE is an on-demand marketplace for bespoke fashion products and services. We connect clients to fashion professionals that make bespoke fashion products and services like Tailors, Dressmakers, Seamstresses, Alterations, Personal Stylists and shoppers. The idea is basically to get people in contact with makers and small entrepreneurs. We want people to sell their skills.

 

AL – That idea came along quite awhile ago now, around 2013 you were at Cardiff, so what’s happened since?

ST – The idea has obviously evolved from what it was originally. Initially it was just going to be a social network for fashionistas. However that idea was parked when I realised that it was just not feasible. In it’s current form, it’s bespoke fashion marketplace.

 

AL – I know when I first started there were so many questions I came across, I think I was lucky because I had parents who taught me to use common sense, but when lots of things like bill’s cross your desk you need to have your whit’s about you, so I can see why people would like your workshop. Has this helped TRENDiPEOPLE then? It looks like this has helped you experience wise, and maybe capital wise?

ST – I still do motivational talks to encourage and empower people from under-represented background to be the best versions of themselves. I now also do the Simon Tefula show which showcases emerging entrepreneurs and small business owners, but yes, I’ve been working with developers to launch TRENDiPEOPLE.

 

AL – Do you think you do too much? I know I feel like sometimes I have too many projects, and people always seem to hammer away saying entrepreneurs should always focus on one thing, do you think this at all?

ST – You know I will eventually do two to three projects max hopefully, but right now I need the funding so you have to juggle. The side gigs help for funding. I like what I am doing, it’s hard, but it’s supporting and empowering people so it’s okay.

 

AL – Can I ask how you stay motivated then? Juggling isn’t easy especially if you are working partially as a solo entrepreneur so what do you do? I mean do you ever struggle?

ST – I believe in doing work that empowers people and makes our world a better place. I definitely get imposter syndrome, however I know I don’t like 9-to-5 jobs, and I know I love motivating and empowering people, so you know you just have to make sure you keep yourself balanced.

 

AL – Final question for you, any advice for entrepreneurs? Even just one tip you stick by?

ST – That’s hard. But I would say three things: firstly, Just get started. There’s no such thing as the perfect time to get started. If you wait for all the ducks and stars to align, you’ll be waiting forever. Start where you are, with what you have and do what you can. Secondly, Network, Network, Network. Find like minded supportive people with similar interests that will keep you going. Finally, Upgrade your software, read, watch YouTube, whatever, but make sure you teach yourself all the time. It’s important to keep improving your knowledge.

 

AL – Thank you Simon! It’s been really interesting to hear how you have ended up where you are. I think it’s pretty incredible to see how you have successfully adapted to so many different jobs, and how you have been helping motivate entrepreneurs, I know it can be hard so it’s pretty impressive work. I’m also intrigued to see how TRENDiPEOPLE goes.

 

Keep an eye out for TRENDiPEOPLE coming soon! If you are looking for a personalised/bespoke fashion item like a dress, suit or fancy dress outfit TRENDiPEOPLE is UK’s first marketplace for bespoke fashion. If you want to hire a Tailor, Dressmaker, Seamstress, Personal Stylist or Shopper check out our TRENDiPEOPLE or directly email simon@trendipeople.co and him and his team will help you sell your skills or connect with the right team! For the past year at least once a week, Simon has publishing a one minute video of motivation, inspiration and encouragement called #SimonTsays on Instagram and Linkedin.

 

-       The Simon Tefula Show - https://open.spotify.com/show/7a5AQp9jStblV6kJhMlEP5

-       Refined Creatives - http://refinedcreatives.co.uk/

-       TRENDiPEOPLE - http://www.trendipeople.co/

-       Simon Tefula - http://simontefula.com/

How To Stop Procrastinating

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There are two types of procrastination, active and passive, or adaptive and maladaptive. The former can be useful, it’s usually for the people who thrive in the eleventh hour, you know the ones who don’t study at all until the night before an exam and still pass with flying colours (sigh). The latter, however, is the more common form of procrastination, and it is the one you need to watch out for. It’s the creative voice that says I can’t right now because I need to talk to X, I don’t want too right now because I want to eat this snack, and perhaps; I can do it later because it isn’t urgent. This is unhelpful procrastination, which is fine, until you find this voice is starting to affect the quality of your life and work, then it’s time to shake up how you handle it.

Below I have outlined some points that might shed some light on why you personally procrastinate, and how you can handle it. Remember everyone has different methods, it’s just about finding what works for you and when.

  1. Anticipate the future

    We are psychologically terrible at anticipating the future, we are hardwired to focus on the here and now, so when we get handed a task thats due in three months, we don’t focus on it. From a threat point of view this makes sense, but if you know the next three months will be hectic, and the chances of getting it done well will be slim, it might be better to do it now. Step back. Take a new perspective of the scenario. What could happen if you did it now? Would it make your life that much easier in the future? Would it be tough but worth it? If you answered yes to any of these you know what to do.

  2. Know thyself

    Going back to the introduction here; there is such a thing as good procrastination, and that is active or adaptive procrastination. This is a strategic procrastination that many people employ because they know it works for them. If you know that waiting until the final moment where the intensity of time pressures you to work brilliantly, then by all means use adaptive procrastination, but if you know that you have been there and you have cracked under the pressure on a regular basis, don’t wait.

  3. Too much to handle

    If you are sitting at your desk with you head in your hands because you honestly have no idea where to start, break it down as far as you need to. A simple solution, but don’t doubt it’s effectiveness even if you have used it before. If you are feeling overwhelmed it can help you slowly restart.

  4. How do you measure your self worth?

    Are you scared of failure? Do you think failure will make you worthless? Do you measure yourself according to how you perform? If so, it’s time to realign yourself.

    Doing a job, particularly one that you love, makes it easy for us to tie our self-worth to how we perform, and that can be a good thing, as long as we remember it isn’t the sole thing that makes us worthy. You are a sum total of your thoughts, family, friends, your work, the adventures you have had, skill sets you hold, your tastes, how you treat people and the list goes on. Remember that when you tell yourself you can’t do something.

  5. Set some goals and get them to stick

    You are now focused, so how do you stop procrastination from creeping in again?

    Set some goals. Goals can help you keep a routine which may not be your style, but it really will keep you on-track and help you slip out of procrastination mode that much easier in the future. So, try writing down some goals that you want to achieve, break them down into smaller, easier steps like you read above, and give yourself some deadlines. If you need help sticking to them try the following:

    • Accountability - Find someone, or something, that will help keep you on track. Be it an app, a friend, or even a pet (Have a dog? They can give you a routine).

    • Visualise - What would it look like, feel like, and taste like if you just successfully finished your tasks with ease? It wont always be easy, but if it gets your goals to stick try following in Michael Phelps’ very large footsteps and practice visualising success. If you can, set aside some time before doing a task to close your eyes and just visualise its completion.

    • Reward yourself - Food driven? Exercise driven? or perhaps you are driven by fun? Figure out a system whereby every-time you achieve a goal you reward yourself in some small way.

It is almost certain that you will procrastinate again in your life, so when you do, remember to cut yourself some slack, and simply start again when you are ready.

JF

Being A Bike Courier in London

Pedals Logo.png

Shaf Hussain, who is 24 years old, has been a courier with Deliveroo, Uber, City Sprint and Rush. Now, for the last year, he has worked for Pedals Delivery and for himself as a freelance Bug Bounty Hunter. I spoke to him to see what being a bike courier at Pedals is all about.

 

JF - So Shaf what is your normal day like?

SH - For me it depends on what bug jobs I have, but I usually start around 8am or 9am. I might have some reoccurring jobs with Pedals, or I might have picked up some jobs from the Pedals website the day before. I probably do these in the morning and afternoon and then I might go to work on some bug bounty projects.

 

JF - What happens if the weather is terrible?

SH – You still cycle. I’ve cycled far in the rain sometimes, because it is raining so people might want more deliveries. You might get soaked, but I’ve got a good jacket.

 

JF – How far is far?

SH – I’ve cycled to Croydon before, I’ve cycled to Bermondsey, I’ve actually done those a few times for the same people.

 

JF – How do you know what route to take? Surely there are a million routes you can take? Especially is you have multiple deliveries?

SH – Pedals are really good, they give you the exact route you should probably take. I’ve cycled long enough to know how to get to most placed, but it can be hard to find the exact house/building/flat. Pedals are really good at directing you to the exact door, some courier companies can be pretty bad at that. You would spend ages wondering around looking for a company.

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JF – So you like working for Pedals?

SH – I’ve worked for people like Deliveroo, Uber and Rush, and Pedals is definitely the best. They really care about their cyclists. They also allow us to take a few breaks, you can easily call them if you have a problem, and they just care about us.  

 

JF – You didn’t take breaks at other companies?

SH – You did, but they were pretty short breaks. Working as a courier in central London is busy, and all couriers have an expected time frame, but some are pretty crazy, I knew one guy who worked for a big courier company and he got fired because it was a little slower than everyone else. He had just started so he wasn’t as fit as everyone else, but they got rid of him. It’s tough because most people have other gigs as well as being a courier so a break can be good to check in on them. And you are also cycling far and pretty fast so a break is nice.

 

JF – Have you learnt a lot by being a courier?

SH - You learn a lot about yourself. When I first started I thought I was fit, but I realised I was actually really unfit and really slow. Now it takes me 30 minutes to get from Farringdon to Fulham, but before it took me an hour, hour and a half. You also learn all the roads and lights in London. I know which route is the quickest and easiest, and which lights are the longest.

 

JF – Have you met any interesting companies?

SH - I’ve met loads of companies who I never knew about. It’s good because It is helping me understand companies and who is who. It’s useful if you want to setup a business! It’s good research.

 

JF – Would you have any advice for people who were thinking about being couriers?

SH – Enjoy it and have fun. Maybe also start with companies like Deliveroo or Uber, they may not pay as well or be a community like Pedals is, but you need to build up your road knowledge and fitness. It’s difficult, you do need to be really fit, especially if you go somewhere like the hills in Balham – one minute you are at the top, the next you have to cycle up a massive hill again. You also have to be alert! People, especially people with pets, don’t look or think about you when crossing the road.

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JF – I don’t cycle too much, but cycling in London is really hard, drivers and people don’t always look for you, and if they do I think they assume you are just a bike so they can squeeze past you - do you struggle with this? Does it put you off being a bike courier?

SH – You just have to watch out for everything and everyone. Cars always scrape up against you, and then they get annoyed if you somehow scratch their car. I try and watch out but sometimes it happens. It doesn’t bother me really because I like to be out and about, I’m not good at sitting at a desk, I am setting up my own business though, so I will stop one day. For now though Pedals makes it really easy and it fits with my other jobs. There are some people who make it their career. There is this one guy who has been a bike courier for 20 years. I’m not sure I could do that, but he loves it and it works for him.

 

JF – And, final question, what is the craziest and/or weirdest thing you have delivered?

SH – It’s not as crazy as some, but Pub Quizzes. I always thought pubs made their own quizzes until I had to deliver a punch of quizzes to different pubs. It think though the craziest things one of the couriers at Pedals has done is cycled with a sofa on the front of her bike.

 

JF – A sofa?! Not sure I could do that somehow. Thank you Shaf! Happy cycling.

 

This interview has been paraphrased in order for it to be shortened.

We Need More Grit

We Need More Grit

We all have that friend who despite what looks like setback after setback still seems to be performing/enjoying life/doing well. And we all have that friend who despite lazing about at school, now either owns their own successful company or has risen the ranks of the corporate ladder with ease - why is that?

Angela Lee Duckworth left a high-flying corporate job to teach maths to kids. She quickly realised that her strongest performing kids weren’t necessarily the ones with the highest IQ’s, rather they were the ones who just kept going - they had grit. Angela left teaching to become a psychologist, and since then has continued her research into what grit is, and why it is important. She is yet to fully understand why it makes such a difference, but it is clear that it plays a large part in success no matter where you find yourself.

So we ask you on this lovely Thursday morning - what do you think grit is?