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Over the past nine-plus years, I have interviewed hundreds of job seekers. The ones that I remember most are those that presented poorly.

  • The woman wearing perfume that literally made me ill.
  • The man who had used “hair-in-a-can” (Yes, he had spray-painted his bald scalp black!).
  • And the woman who, forgive me, had put on so much makeup that I thought she was applying for the position of circus clown.
As far as I am concerned, rule number one is no perfume, cologne, aftershave, or scented anything. You might think you smell good, but if the interviewer’s stomach is churning, it’s going to be a short interview. Rule number two is only a minimal amount of makeup. But, I’m a man, so what do I know about makeup? Therefore, I asked New York makeup artist Ewelina Krupinska what she advises women to wear – makeup-wise – on an interview. "A woman’s makeup can be an important factor in an interview, so important, that it should not be ignored," she said. "Everyone has a different perception of what makes them look presentable, but there are some universal rules. First, you should not use your ‘everyday’ makeup. Remember, you are meeting a potential employer. While your makeup does not have to be ‘natural,’ it should not be too dramatic. You have to take into consideration the corporate culture and the position for which you are applying. Mimic women who are in the position." Of course, the question is, How can you find that out? It may be as simple as looking at the company’s annual report or website. If you can’t find any photos, if feasible, go to the company at the start of a workday and see what the women are wearing. Even if you don’t know who’s who, you will know what the corporate culture dictates. But back to Ms. Krupinska. “As for women who don’t regularly wear makeup, and who think they don’t need to, think again," she said. "You have to consider your competition and you don’t want an employer thinking that you don’t take pride in your appearance." "So, use some concealer and a bit of foundation to cover any imperfections (like a pimple or a blemish)," she advised. "If you don’t know how to properly apply makeup, department stores offer the service for a nominal fee." “Just remember,” she concludes, “stay professional.” Photo Credit: Shutterstock
Learn how to land a career you love

Everyone needs to feel their voice is heard and their contributions are important. Something as simple as sharing a drink the last hour of the day on a Friday with the team to recap wins and give praise can build camaraderie within the team.

All of the above are fairly simple to implement but can make a huge difference in morale and motivation. Have any of these tips worked well for young the past? Do you have other tips to motivate your creative team? If so, please share them with me!

Encourage curiosity. Spark debate. Stimulate creativity and your team will be better at handling challenges with flexibility and resourcefulness. Create a safe space for ideas, all ideas, to be heard. In ideation, we need the weird and off-the-wall ideas to spur us on to push through to the great ideas.

Sure, there are a ton of studies done on this, but here is my very unscientific personal take. When team members can make decisions about how they work on projects, they are more engaged and connected to the project outcome. When they see how potentially dropping the ball would affect the entire team, they step up. When they feel like what they are doing is impactful and valued, they are naturally motivated to learn more, and be even better team members.

Rarely does a one-size-fits-all style work when it comes to team motivation. I have found that aligning employee goals with organization goals works well. Taking time to get to know everyone on your team is invaluable. What parts of their job do they love? What do they not enjoy? What skills do they want to learn? Even going so far as to where they see themselves in five years career-wise. These questions help you right-fit projects, and help your team see you are committed to creating a career path for them within the company.

Most designers I know love a good challenge. We are problem solvers by nature. Consistently give yourself and your team small challenges, both design-related and not. It will promote openness within the team to collaborate, and it will help generate ideas faster in the long run. Whether the challenge is to find a more exciting way to present an idea to stakeholders or fitting a new tool into the budget, make it a challenge just to shake things up.