By Feroze Engineer – “Listen, I’m going to be straight with you.” I remember the recruitment consultant saying, “Going by track record, you’re my strongest candidate, but you won’t get the job if you dress like a tramp (or a bum for all you American readers).”
After I picked my jaw up off the floor, I realised I had made a basic error – not understanding everything there is to know about my target audience, in this case, the company I wanted to work for. My job at the time, PR & Marketing for the Roald Dahl Museum & Story Centre, had never involved a tie (I thought “tramp” was a bit harsh as I had worn a blazer that day).
So after a visit to Marks & Spencer’s clothing department, I set out to interview for the job of Marketing Assistant at Xenith Document Systems, a leading Xerox channel partner in London. But I had also done a bit of other preparation – I checked out the company, and people I would be meeting on LinkedIn, Google news, and their website. I learned that Justin, the MPS Director at the time (now Managing Director) had been to the same university as I had, which I thought would make a good ice breaker.