Saturday, November 9, 2013

The Interview Coat

We had our first snow last week, which made me think about needing an interview coat.  I have two in-person interviews scheduled for this coming week and one more that I'm waiting to hear on the time.

Tuesday - First interview with a non-profit organization.  I had a phone HR screen but haven't spoken to the hiring manager yet.

Wednesday - First interview with an education scoring company.  I applied to this one a month ago and didn't hear back.  Because it's a pretty stat-heavy job (of a psychometric variety), I wasn't surprised not to get a call.  But I got a call from HR out of the blue to schedule an in-person interview without an HR screen.  This is the first time I've gotten an interview invite without one that was not a state job.  (And only for one of the state jobs have I not had an HR screen before the interview.)  I can see that state hiring is more old-school overall, and because they publish the salary range with the job opening, they do not need to screen people for salary expectations.  I am still surprised that a private company would not try to get salary expectations from me before the interview.

Thursday or Friday - We haven't finalized the timing, but I have been invited for what the HR person described as a "second interview" with a for-profit university.  I had a phone interview with the hiring manager, and I guess they are counting that as a first interview.

This is going to be my most interview-filled week yet, and I'm feeling more encouraged (cautiously) about the job search at the moment (of course).

Anyway, I realized that although I have a lot of different coats, I do not have one that is job interview compatible, and it's only going to get colder as my job search continues.  The coats are too casual, too "made for serious cold weather" (e.g., down puffer), too colorful, and/or otherwise just not what I'm looking for in an interview coat.  My only wool coat -- which to me seems like the appropriate style/fabrication -- is a great bright red coat that to me is both too colorful and perhaps a bit too casual for the situation.  So I decided I wanted to get a boring but high quality black (or dark grey -- Robert has a lovely dark grey wool coat for work) wool coat that would not have the interviewers referring to me as "the woman with the [insert distinctive coat description here] coat."

I did some looking online, but don't have enough time to order something and have it come in, so I was facing having to go to stores this weekend to shop.  I thought I might try Goodwill first (they always have a bunch of coats, basically all year round) and Robert suggested that we try the two Goodwill "boutique" stores in the area.  The Goodwill people are smart -- they take the nicest, priciest, etc., clothes and put them in these smaller boutique stores where they charge more like consignment store prices than thrift store prices.  So you can get a good deal on a higher-end item but you're not going to find anything cheap (in price or quality).

We went to the closest one first by driving down University this hour before the football game started.  So we hit the game traffic and it took us a while to get past it.  I had not seen the stadium before, and it was a complete mob scene in the blocks around it.

When we got to the store, at first I thought it was super-tiny, but because it was built into what used to be a garage or something, it was roomier than it first appeared because it had multiple rooms.  Robert found the coats right away and within about 10-15 minutes, I had found two good coats.  The first is a lighter-weight coat with a zip-in liner that is black, in a classic shape, and (something I like) very long.  I was not familiar with the Gallery brand but it appears to be a mid-priced brand.  The coat was in such good condition that it basically looks new.  The second coat is a classic, very long black 100% wool coat -- vintage from Alorna, also in immaculate condition.  I wasn't sure which one to get, so I got both.  I don't own a long wool coat of any kind (my red one is butt-length) nor a lighter-weight coat that does not read outdoorsy or sporty.  At the checkout, I picked up a necklace that I could not resist (and that I look forward to showing you in a later post). 

The total for the two coats and the necklace was under $200.  Now, I could have gotten two coats new from Macy's or Kohl's for about that price (or more, depending on how good the sale is), but the quality would not have been as high and it would have taken a lot longer to pick them out.  (The time thing was a particular issue because Robert's getting sick with a cold and I wanted to get him home as soon as possible.)

I wore a blazer to the store so that I could try coats on over it, and I'm glad I did.  I tried on an absolutely stunning Brook Brothers coat that quite surprisingly fit perfectly in the waist/hips but was too narrow in the shoulders with the blazer on (I usually find the hips/ass the place that's sometimes too small), so I had to let it go.  (Oh, it occurs to me suddenly that the previous owner might have had the coat tailored to fit narrow shoulders, which would explain why it seemed so atypically pear shaped.)

So I am now covered for cold weather interviewing and I have checked out a cool store that I want to look at more closely at a time I don't have a sick companion along.


mom said...

That's fantastic that you found 2 winter coats so quickly! It took me a couple of years to find a coat that I liked and was also good quality.

Tam said...

Pics or it didn't happen.

Sally said...

Your command is my....command. See new post. :)

Sally said...

Actually, damn, I only featured the one coat I've worn so far in the new post. I guess I will overplay the suspense on the vintage wool coat for a bit longer.

jen said...

I got such a good deal on a couple wool coats and a leather jacket several years ago (new but on sale big time), I still talk about it. I wore one of them on Saturday and my friend exclaimed, oh is this one of the coats? lol. Of course I still have the classic dark gray wool coat from over 10 years ago which also still looks great. Good thing I don't have to worry about suits though.

Sally said...

Jen, sounds like you are set for wool coats -- which are good to have whether you are in NYC or SF.