Knowing the right personality fit for your team and for your corporate culture can be just as important to your department’s success as an applicant’s past achievements.

Before interviewing a candidate, consider:

  • What are the most important skills needed on the project?
  • What type of personality will best fit our team?
  • Do you know how tight the market is for this skill set?
  • Is there any flexibility in any of the requirements called for by the position?
  • Are you willing to train a candidate who is stepping up into this role, or do you prefer a candidate who is making a lateral move?
  • What is your time frame for someone to start?

Taking time to consider soft skill questions will ensure the continuing success of your team.



The number one question for success during your job search is: “Who am I professionally?”

  • If I could have any job I wanted, what would that be?
  • What are my unique talents?
  • How can these talents solve key frustrations of an employer?
  • Am I happier in a small company or large corporation?
  • What are the qualities of my ideal manager?
  • Where would I like to be professionally in five years?

Knowing what’s important to you professionally is the key to securing your perfect job.


A candidate recently interviewed for a new position. The candidate had the technical skills to do the job, as well as outstanding communication skills. The client said the candidate was PERFECT, except for wearing a purple turtleneck to the interview. The client decided that the candidate’s style was too informal for the nature of the position and the person did not get the job.

First impressions form in as little as three seconds. When interviewing, a first impression can determine if you are a possible match for a company’s culture.

We take it for granted that everyone knows that an interview is the time to put your best foot forward. Dressing for an interview means appearing as professional as possible. You want to set the impression that you at least match the corporate culture standard, or appear at a higher social standard so that others want to know you.

It’s important to appear genuine, trust worthy and dependable. There is a reason attorneys, bankers, and other professionals wear suits to set the tone of work environment.

Project a solid first impression. This can include:

  • Wearing a dark suit with a matching tie
  • Well-groomed hair and nails
  • Polished, closed toed shoes
  • Avoiding religious, ethnic or clunky jewelry
  • Covering tattoos or body piercing

At least once during your career consider scheduling a session with a wardrobe or image development specialist who tailors outfits to your personal colors and body shape. You will find this a solid investment as you build your work wardrobe.

Whatever your industry, dressing professionally does make a difference. You will quickly gain the respect and confidence of all you meet as well project your authentic style.

Reader Questions

Dianne Gubin’s Tip of the Week celebrates one full year of tips to make your career and business life more successful!


Every week readers asks specific career related questions. The issue below on compensation is very common.


If you have a question you would like to privately address, just send a note to Dianne @





During an interview, is it okay for the company to inquire how much my salary was two or three years ago or specifically what was on my W2 form?


The pay the company is offering for this job is very low and I was asked how I would be able to afford a living. What should I say? Can I just say personal investments? Or is that not a good idea?





Anyone can ask you anything, including past compensation. This is very standard on an HR type of interview.


Most important, if the pay is too low, DO NOT SELL YOURSELF SHORT unless there is a specific skill you wish to gain. Wait and chalk this up to part of your process and know the right job is out there for you. When you say yes to a job that doesn’t pay your market value, then every future position is based on this “new” value for your services.


It may feel as if you are turning down a position that “isn’t right” and that  you are throwing away an available job; however, when you say no, it tells “the universe” that this isn’t what you want and helps clarify what you do want.



Also, if you turn down this job and the company really wants you, then they’ll either find the money, up the grade level, or create a new position that will be better suited to your skills and your market value.


Being privy to an unethical situation is a quagmire. The situation may not be large enough to warrant a full whistleblower case; however, what can you do when you don’t have the ability to report an unethical act?


Whether the issue is small, such as using a corporate postage meter for personal mail, or larger, such as being aware of bribery, your integrity may be at stake.

  • Be cognizant of the behavior you are judging.
  • Let the parties involved know that you are aware of the situation.
  • Don’t be afraid to voice your opinion and gain consensus, depending on the issue.

Handling uncomfortable situations forces them into the open. If you feel that the situation has escalated beyond your personal involvement, consider appraising the highest authority.


In any situation once you’ve voiced your opinion, you have three choices. You can “put up, shut up, or leave.”


Success in the work environment is based on mutual respect and trust. Studies have shown that unethical behavior is generally related to job dissatisfaction.


Follow your instinct and do what you feel is right.


Fired, forced-out, downsized, right-sized, position relocated or outsourced?

Most states including California are “employment-at-will” states. This means that barring employment contracts that indicate otherwise, or illegal reasons, an employer may terminate an employee for any reason (or no reason) at any time.

With this in mind, look at every position as a daily chance to expand your skills and professional network.

If your position is terminated, here are steps to move forward as quickly as possible:

• Update your resume.
• Contact your state’s Employment Development Department (EDD) for unemployment benefits.
• Contact your personal professional network. Let people know what you do and that you’re available. Follow-up and stay in touch.
• Get out and network. Look for events in your industry. Or attend events in industries you’d like to enter. Show up early. Volunteer. Make new connections that can open bright new doors.
• Think about what you love to do, or always wanted to do, and lean toward creating the life you want.

What to say on an interview regarding why your last job ended:

• Keep reasons for termination brief.
• Be honest when asked the reason a position ended.
• Never say anything negative about former employers or managers.

If your position ends, trust that new doors will open.