TOP TIPS FOR ACING AN INTERVIEW

Having worked in TV for 4 years, where each freelance contract/job tends to be on average 6 - 8 weeks long, I am very used to going to interviews for new jobs. Now, I am by no means perfect in an interview, but so far.. I have been lucky enough to have been offered every single job - bar one, which definitely turned out to be a blessing in disguise... but that's a whole other story - so I must be doing something right. Right? (Or it could be just pure luck but let's not ruin my theory shall we...)

So when I was contacted by City Calling, an online recruitment company matching jobseekers and employers to the appropriate job vacancies - which includes positions at Superdrug FYI ladies; think of the 3 for 2 girls, think of the 3 for 2... - to collaborate on a post, I thought it was the perfect opportunity to step out of my comfort zone and do what I guess is my first ever "Tips" post. I won't lie, this makes me want to s**t myself slightly nervous as I am not the most confident person in the world - more on this later - so as a result, often put myself down and think that no one would benefit from my "tips". Well, today I've grown some balls, today you are getting my top interview tips, and today... if something I've mentioned helps even one person, then I will be a very happy girl indeed.*

*And if doesn't, feel free to just pretend that it has and humour me anyway? ;)


Time for the tips:
Do your research - This is by far one of the most important tips. The worst thing that you can do, is go to an interview for a job/company that you know absolutely nothing about. Research the company that you are going for a job with; find out as much as possible about them - the basics, the people at the top and odd little facts are great as you can drop them into the conversation and immediately impress the interviewer as they know that you care enough about the job to go and research it/remember the facts. Another thing I always do is look for people on LinkedIn that work in the same company, in the role that you're going for. They'll usually list their job duties which is so unbelievably useful as you can use this to relate duties from your own previous job/work experience roles, to the role that you're going for. It makes you appear more than competent, experienced and makes you a sure contender for that role.

Don't be late - Sounds obvious, right? (Yes Einstein, just a little...) but you wouldn't believe how many times people have turned up late to interviews that I've held myself, and most of them with no apologies or explanation as to why. Turn up on time, in fact, I take that back... turn up early. I always do this and just add in a casual "Sorry I'm a little early, I gave myself extra time to make sure I wasn't late" You'd be surprised how much employer's will be grateful for this, and impressed by this.

Wear something smart, but you - For me, wearing something that I really like and feel good in for interviews is so important (#BloggerPriorities) because when I feel smart, but comfortable (i.e not my usual 'dragged through a hedge backwards' appearance) I instantly feel ready for the interview. If you suffer with confidence anyway, it helps to give you even the tiniest little boost. Stuck outfit-wise? A crisp white, or light blue shirt always looks smart, and if pencil skirts/more structured and uncomfortable pieces are not for you, a nice tailored, pinstripe trouser will pair perfectly. Add a smart - but neutral - shoe and you're good to go.

Side note: A bunch of roses are not appropriate interview attire, they are simply for the prettiness of the photo. #BloggerProblems ;)

Hair and Makeup? Stick with what you know - Interviews are not the time to try out that brand new bright green eyeshadow you fancied trying at the weekend (clearly I'm talking to my 14 year old self there), stick to what you know and go natural. A bright, neon lipstick can be really attention grabbing and not in a good way. You want to be the girl that aced the interview, not the girl who looked like clown and had lipstick all over her teeth. Of course, if red lipstick is something your wear everyday anyway, then go for it. But if not, stick with a natural nude/"my lips but better" shade like Mac Patisserie for example. The same goes for nails, we all love a Beyonce blue colour from time to time but girl... save those for the weekend. Stick with a natural nude that looks sleek but sophisticated. Essie Ballet Slippers is my go to interview shade.

Turn off your mobile/anything that might go off mid interview - Another obvious one, but the last thing you want is your phone going off during in an interview, especially if it's a *insert ghetto accent here* "Girl, you better check yo text" ring tone too. That's never going to go down well.

Prepare for the age old, awkward interview questions - You know the ones, what 3 words describe you best? What are your weaknesses? etc. Be honest... I mean, if you're a bit of a twat, try not to use "A massive twat" as your 3 words (If you're like me, you may be at a bit of a loss after this but keep thinking, you'll get there) ;) Stupid jokes aside, if you're not a hugely outgoing person, don't say that you are. If you're not particularly organised, don't use this because you think it'll sound great. If you do get the job, you won't be able to keep up the pretence anyway, so just be yourself and think of what traits would work well for the job you're going for. No matter what job you go for, being hard working, motivated and reliable will always be a huge asset to any role and any company.

For your weaknesses? This really is a tough one. The whole "I'm a perfectionist" "I'm a workaholic" thing is so overdone that it's become cheesy, and to be honest, totally transparent. Don't say that you don't have a weakness because everybody does (well, perhaps not if you're Blake Lively, or Olivia Palermo, or Cheryl cole, or... apologies, fan girl over) and it looks like you're untruthful and unable to self-criticise. So give a real weakness, but also give examples of how you've overcome those in previous situations. End on a positive, always!

Prepare some questions to ask at the end - One of the things in a interview that I've personally struggled with in the past is thinking of relevant questions to ask at the end. Having no questions can make you appear uninterested in knowing more about the company (even though this could really not be the case), this is your chance to impress them but of course the questions have to be relevant (that puts the "Oh my god, what lipstick are you wearing? It's so pretty!" option out the window then) Here are some of my favourite options that make you seem interested/like you actually give a damn/like you actually really want the job:
  • What skills/experience would you prefer to see in a candidate for this role? 
  • Is there room for progression in the company?
  • What do you enjoy most about working here?
  • What is the next step in the process, how long can I expect to wait until I find out if I have made it through to the next stage?
  • How long have you been at the company for, what made you want to stay for so long?
If you're not confident... fake it! - I'll let you into a little secret (shhh, don't tell anyone) I am probably one of the least confident people you will ever come across, however in an interview - according to people who have previously interviewed me and are now friends - you'd never guess. I think you can tell in the way that I take the piss out of constantly laugh at myself, that I am not that confident in myself, but I know that for a lot of employers, the perception of confidence = competence, so if you're like me, then you're going to have to fake it. Hold your head up high, sit with good posture, give a good firm handshake - keep it clean you over there with the dirty mind - and speak clearly and confidently. I'm not saying put on an entirely different persona all together - Oh well, I'll have to tuck my Sasha Fierce away for another time - I'm just saying be the best version of you... just with the confidence switch turned up a little.

Be you - Last but most definitely not least... be you! As I mentioned above, if you put on a totally different act, you will find it impossible to keep up said act if you actually get the job. Nobody knows what an employer is looking for, you could absolutely ace an interview but you just might not be right for the job at that time. The most important thing to remember is that everything happens for a reason, and what's meant to be will always find it's way.

Jesus christ, move over Martin Luther King! ;)

I would absolutely love to know what your interview tips are; what's the best tip you've been given? Any tips here that you've found useful? I would to hear your thoughts.

As always, thank you so much for reading. I really hope you enjoyed this post and found it useful! 

xx

*This post was brought to you in collaboration with City Calling. As always, all thoughts are 100% my honest, genuine opinion.

A MEETING WITH HEMYCA

This little thing that we call 'blogging' is a funny old thing, isn't it? It's available to anyone with an internet connection, it's free, it's readily available as in a matter of minutes you can start a blog, write anything that your heart desires, and put it out there for the world to see. Around 2 and a half years ago when I started this blog, that's literally all it was to me. Just somewhere that I could ramble for hours waffle for days bore you all to death express my feelings on anything and everything. Fast forward 2 and a half years today - Jesus christ, this is turning a little "the Time Traveler next door" - and this blog is not only my baby, my passion, my job... but something that has offered up more opportunities than I ever dreamed would be possible for me, and this post is basically me talking about one of them. With some soppy, fan girl action thrown in for free. Don't say I never give you anything ;)

After attending a London Fashion week presentation last month for a designer named Hemyca, which easily became my favourite collection of the season, I did what I always do. I came home, I gorged on an Indian takeaway and an episode of Keeping up with the Kardashians - Classy Elle, classy... - and I then preceded to blog about my experience (food baby in tow) A day after the post went live, I was contacted by the team at Hemyca and invited down to meet the amazing designers and take a closer look at the collection. To me, this is mind blowing. I have loved/admired/stalked/obsessed over/[insert your own choice of "loved" synonym here] fashion for years so for me and my little blog - which I am still convinced is only read by my Mum #BiggestFan - to be noticed by such a huge brand, I feel truly blessed and honoured. I could wax lyrical about how grateful and amazed I am but I am attempting to stick to my new year's resolution to not bore you to death, so I'll stop here and let the photo's of Hemyca's Decrypt collection do the talking instead. 

"Praise the lord" sings anybody that ever reads this post. Ever!
There were two items from Hemyca's Decrypt collection in particular that I just couldn't take my eyes - and camera - off at the presentation, and the gorgeous dress above was the first of those. The gorgeous, gorgeous print and mesh-esque material not only compliment each other so well, but also makes the dress so wearable and timeless.
Next up on my wishlist/never ever going to happen so I may as well just trot off to Primark to console myself list, is this stunning red leather dress. The cut is gorgeous, making the dress look fierce, sexy and powerful, whilst also being totally wearable for all women, of all shapes and sizes. This is actually something that is really important to Hemyca; they are girl's girls. They want women to look and feel incredible not only on a night out or special occasion but from day to day, and this collection completely embodies that.
So I'm sure by now you'll have gathered that I was ridiculously head over heels with the collection, but one thing that I quickly need to mention is actually meeting Myra Nigris, HEMYCA's designer alongside Helen Clinch (and her wonderful colleague Frances.) I try very hard not to have a preconceived idea of somebody before I meet them; but as an extremely successful designer and businesswoman in a very harsh industry, I guess it's not unforgivable to think that somebody might not be so open, not so friendly and easy to talk to. I couldn't have been any more wrong. Myra was, by far, one of the nicest people that I've met not only since blogging, but also my years in the TV/creative industry. Open, warm, incredibly friendly and passionate beyond belief, I sat with Myra and Frances for over 2hours talking all things fashion, #HemycaWorld and future collaboration ideas [insert "can't believe my luck but trying to play it cool, but totally failing emoji face here] and I genuinely came away feeling so unbelievably inspired, motivated and excited for the future huge, totally deserved success of Hemyca (and hopefully this little corner of the internet too).

I could end this post here, but this is me guys, and if you're not asleep through boredom now then I haven't done my job properly ;) Obligatory outfit and makeup picks for the meeting:
Boyfriend's old shirt which I've now claimed: River Island
Print trousers: H&M
Those shoes that might as well be surgically attached to my feet: Dorothy Perkins (last season, similar here)
Watch which I will always love: Daniel Wellington
Earrings: Gemporia*

The earrings I am ever so subtly modelling below were very kindly sent to me from a brand named Gemporia, and I can honestly say, I haven't taken them off since I received them. The slight oval shape makes them different from anything I already own, but also extremely wearable. They're so easy to wear day to day, but also look stunning for a dressier, more formal occasion. I genuinely think they are incredible value for money and they feel so sturdy and well made too, I'll definitely be hopping over to the site to add to my Gemporia collection :) (#WhatWeddingBudget)
So that brings me to the end of this little Hemyca appreciation society/ode to blogging/outfit post - I do love a good mix, don't I? - If you're still with me, thank you (and congratulations, sending virtual high fives to you) I just wanted to note that despite my humorous tone and attempted *ahem* comedy, I really do feel so incredibly grateful to have been offered the opportunities that I have... and none of it would be possible without any of you reading this right now. If you've read my blog for a while, or if this is the first post of mine that you've read, I really am beyond grateful to all of you.

What I would love to know, is what is your favourite piece/print from the Hemyca Decrypt line? And what has been your most "pinch me" moment since starting blogging? I would love to hear your thoughts. :)

As always, thanks so much for reading. I hope you enjoyed this post!

xx

10 INSTAGRAM ACCOUNTS YOU SHOULD BE FOLLOWING

Let me start by saying that in this post, I am by no means telling you what to do. I mean... yes my title says you should be doing something, but the alternative title of "Instagram accounts I totally recommend you follow but if you don't want to, thats absolutely OK. But if you do, amazing, I promise you'll enjoy" isn't quite as catchy is it?

SEO would have a bloody lovely time with that wouldn't it? #BloggerProblems!

Title's (not invented for the over-polite) aside, this post was born after receiving some messages that I'd been tagged in some blog posts. When I read said blog posts, which you can read here & here, it genuinely completely turned my day around. What was a slightly sad, moping myrtle kind of day, all of a sudden became a motivated, grateful and in all honesty, slightly overwhelmed by such kind words, kind of day. And those days are always the best. So I thought I'd share the love today and if this post makes at least one person half as happy as I was, then my job here is done.

It's probably worth noting that the majority of the "Instagrammers" - totally not a word but let's just make that a thing shall we? It's now a thing.. - have a ridiculously large following so I'm sure they couldn't give a fu*k two hoots whether I recommend them/even notice that I've recommended them but hey, maybe it'll brighten their day just a tad if they do :)

Ever the optimist Elle, ever the optimist.
@TuulaVintage - If you suffer from a serious case of wanderlust, Jessica might not be the best person to follow. As a travel and personal style blogger, her absolutely perfect, stunning, ridiculously envious Instagram follows her around the world from Tulum, to NYC, to the Maldives and beyond. With the most picture perfect sunsets, crystal clear blue seas and endless beaches... her photo's will wow you, inspire you, but mainly... give you all the "give me your life please, thank you" feels in the world!

@Kayture As another fellow blogger, Kristina provides so much inspiration to me. Not because I aspire to be a big as big as her - come on now, I'm an optimist but also a realist - but because her photography is flawless, her style is perfection and she also comes across as such a lovely, grateful and fun lady. And whilst my blog and success will no doubt never equals hers... those are all attributes that anybody - blogger or not - can aspire to.
@DeliciouslyElla I am not necessarily a healthy person, but I am a huge foodie. I love my food, and I love finding healthier, tastier alternatives to my junk food favourites. What I love about Ella from Deliciously Ella, is that she doesn't just post kale upon kale upon even more kale recipes, it's real food, real portions*... just full of nutrients and "good stuff'. Achievable healthy recipes are the best way of easing yourself to a healthier lifestyle and I think Ella is perfect for that.

*P.S I am known for having absolutely no concept of portion size, so for me, any recipe looks a little small. But apparently they're good portions for what "normal" people eat, [Insert beached whale emoji here]

@CarlyRowena -Whilst I'm getting better at making healthier options - full fat coke over diet coke because the artificial sweeteners and chemicals are terrible for you, is as far as I've got at the moment... (Jesus, move over Miranda Kerr!) fitness is something I am not doing so well in. Well, when I say not well, I actually mean "haven't exercised in 7years" I completely shit kid you not. Whilst I can't say I am now a fitness fanatic, I have ordered some exercise gear - because somehow Missguided have made sportswear desirable. You go Glen Coco Missguided! - which is (a ridiculously small) step in the right direction. Carly and her ridiculously toned, honed and all those other words that basically mean fit body, has been my biggest motivation to get off of my saggy arse and actually do some exercise. Rather than just watch her fitness video's and not actually join in with them (Just me? Please tell me it's not just me who does that...) P.S Can we just talk about those abs? [insert heart eye'd emoji here] P.P.S she also eats brownies and naughty stuff. My kinda fitness babe!
@amberfillerup Amber Fillerup is a relatively new find of mine and my god have I become obsessed with her. Not only are her hair skills on entirely on another level (I can just about do a basic platt so she's practically a goddess to me) but she also travels to the most stunning places, with her son who is easily one of the cutest little boys ever. Her Instagram is full of dutch hair braids, Hair inspiration and smiles... and I am all for that!

@gh0stparties - Kate's blog is one that I have been following for years now, and her Instagram feed is just as dreamy. If it's beauty, decor - in particular, those dreamy white floorboards - accessories or interiors... Kate's is the account you want to go for. Whenever I'm lacking in inspiration photography/composition wise, Kate's Instagram, blog and website Nouvelle daily are at the top of my list.
@buynowbloglater - Laura is a nostalgic favourite of mine. She was one of the first YouTubers/Bloggers that I ever discovered at least 5/6 years ago now and her blog is still one of my all time favourites. Looking for lipstick, foundation, blusher (...bascially all the makeup) recommendations? Laura is your girl. I only wish that she still made YouTube video's because her personable, down to earth manner was just a joy to watch. As it is, I'll have to settle for stalking obsessing over reading her equally as amazing fashion and beauty blog.

@frenchbydesign - Interiors/home decor are now one of my favourite things to search for - a sure sign that I am indeed getting extremely old, non? [insert cry face emoji here] - I love a white and airy, simple, monochrome with copper accents but still nice and neutral vibe to my interiors and "French By Design" provides exactly that. Again, their Instagram is just an extension of their stunning blog, and I will no doubt be following/double tapping away for the forseeable future. Especially as I am in the process of buying a house. That's it, I'm officially an adult. I'm officially old. Sobs...
@wonderful_places Prepare to be absolutely blown away/stunned/speachless/[insert your own choice of gobsmacked synonym here] with this account. An extension of their blog, The Wonderful paces, Suzanne, her husband Isaac and team of photographers who feature on their blog take you all over the world, capturing photographs that are so special and perfect you'd almost think they were computer generated. When I'm a little down in the dumps/"sucks to be me right now"... checking out these incredible places makes me feel so much more motivated to work hard, save money and go and see the world. Hi, my name's Ellie and I am a massive cheeseball/loser...

@Quotes And finally, an account based entirely around quotes, because who doesn't love a good quote? (If you don't, I'm really not sure we can be friends) ;) Yes, it's pretty much impossible to come by a positive quote that isn't slightly cheesy/cringe worthy... but I'm all for that shit stuff. When I'm feeling a little low, have had some bad news, or generally just wish things were a little different; I love nothing more than to stalk search through positive/motivational quotes on Instagram or Pinterest. It makes me feel better every single time. My favourite "Quote" instagram at the moment is Quotes, (#DoesWhatItSaysOnTheTin) get ready to start double tapping!

So that brings my Instagram recommendations to an end. It actually took me an embarrassingly long amount of time to narrow it down to 10 as there are so many accounts I stalk, fan girl, perve on, obsess over love. So let me know if you like this post and I will happily use it as an excuse to spend far too many hours procrastinating on Instagram to make another one... all in the name of working, of course ;)

What I would love to know, is what are your favourite Instagram accounts? Who/what inspires you and makes you double tap like no other? I would love to hear your thoughts! (also feel free to link your own Insta as I will happily check it out!)

As always thank you so much for reading. I hope you enjoyed this post!

xx

TOP 10 DRUGSTORE HOLY GRAILS

When it comes to makeup, skincare, clothes etc. I am anything but a snob. Yes, Tom Ford lipsticks look and feel ridiculously luxurious... but give me an identical performing product that comes in, I don't know, bin bag packaging - bin bag packaging, that was the best you could do Elle, really?... - for a tenth of the price, and I am all for it.

Plus, whatever you save whilst going for the drugstore option means you can totally go and blow it all on a Primark haul, right? Hmm... I haven't quite got this budgeting thing down yet, have I?

#WhatWeddingBudget #SavingForTheWeddingFail #TurningUpToTheWeddingInaBinBag

The point I am trying to get to - which of course, 3 paragraphs and ridiculously shit bad hashtags in I am no nearer to reaching - is that there are a lot of incredible drugstore makeup products out there which not only give hugely overpriced high end options a run for their money, but in a lot of cases, completely outdo them in terms of quality and performance.
Bourjois CC Cream - Narrowing down a HG foundation/CC cream was so much harder than I thought it would be, as I was reminded of all the amazing bases available at the drugstore. In the end, I opted for this Bourjois CC as for me, it has the perfect medium coverage - as well as being extremely buildable for those "I look like a pile of shit crap" days. - It leaves a velvety/luminous finish and feels so moisturising, despite the fact that it lasts so well on the skin. If you can find this in the right shade for you (this is the only downfall as they only have 4 shades, I believe) then I highly recommend picking it up!
Maybelline Anti-Age The Eraser eye - Luckily for your patience/souls/[insert your own choice of character trait that may not be able to deal with my rambles, here] I have mentioned this product in a recent post which I'll link here for you. In short, this has incredible coverage, it doesn't crease, it blends like a dream... it's my all time favourite concealer. High end products included!
Essie nail polishes - Looking for a nail polish brand that is incredibly long-wearing, has a huge amount of colour options and generally just looks amazing? You were, oh how coincidental... Well, Essie have got your back ladies! There are so many incredible options but my "star colours" would have to be Fifth Avenue, Fiji, Aruba Blue, Forever Yummy, Dive Bar, Luxedo...
... I should probably stop fan girling now.
Soap and Glory One heck of a blot - Again, another product I've fan-girled, obsessed over, mentioned before, but definitely one worth mentioning again. It is a totally translucent setting powder that keeps me shine free longer than any other setting powder I own (and there's a lot trust me, #OilyGirlProblems) I highly, highly recommend this alongside all Soap and Glory face products. An incredible brand!
Maybelline Colour tattoo cream shadow, Creamy Beige - Choosing a drugstore shadow was so incredibly hard, because there are genuinely so many amazing options. You've heard me waffle on about the colour tattoo's longevity, range of colours and versatility before so I'll just link that here like the organised blogger I am [insert completely unconvinced face here] so I thought I'd include some other "highly commended" options. Sleek's eyeshadow palette in Storm, Rimmel's Scandeleyes paint in Rich Russet and Loreal infallible pressed pigments are just some of the equally as incredible drugstore shadow's I'd recommend. And of course, totally affordable. See... now you don't even want a Charlotte Tilbury eyeshadow quad anymore do you? Oh, you still do, yeah... me too!
Bourjois 1 second volume mascara (waterproof) - This is a new purchase of mine that was born from a desperate attempt to find a cheaper version of my Rollerlash (I love that shit stuff but ain't nobody - who's gotta pay for a wedding soon - got time money for that..) This stuff is just all kinds of voluminous awesome. It does take a couple of lashings and a little wiggle through the lashes, but the volume and definition you get from it makes it totally worth it!
Collection Extreme 24hr Felt tip liner - I have to be totally honest in that I am yet to find my perfect liquid liner. But this little budget beauty is the nearest I have come so far. (Yes, even over the Kat Von D tattoo liner) It's extremely pigmented, it lasts for hours - it's never been on for 24hrs but it probably lasts me around 12 - doesn't dry out too quickly... and of course, it's ridiculously affordable. An amazing budget buy here.
Real Techniques brushes - I couldn't write a drugstore edit without including these brushes. For the price, I think they are such incredibly good value for money. High quality, a huge selection - the buffing brush has to be my all time favourite - and wash up really, really well. I've had the majority of mine for around 3 years now and they're still as good as new.
Sleek Blusher in Rose Gold - These blushers, are without a doubt some of the most pigmented blushers I own and believe me... I am a huge blush whore*. A perfectly buttery, velvety, blendable formulation that come in a stunning range of colours. My favourite has to be Rose Gold which is often touted as a dupe for Nars Orgasm* - which I haven't tried, so I can't vouch for that - but it is very smilar to Mac's Springsheen. Better I'd say.

*I can only imagine what my search keywords/referring website stats will be like after including whore and orgasm in the same paragraph, let alone post. [insert cry face emoji here]
Tanya Burr Lipglosses (in particular, "Chic") - If you've been around these parts for a while now, you will know that I am utterly obsessed with Tanya's glosses, in particular, the colour Chic. It is the perfect nude, everyday gloss. Sophisticated and (totally true to it's name) Chic. The best, and only glosses that I can actually wear (...without throwing a massive bitch fit because my hair is permanently stuck to my lips)

So those are my drugstore/pharmacy holy grails. Obviously please bear in mind that what works for some, doesn't work for others.. and vice versa. But for me personally, I would whole-heartedly recommend and repurchase (and have done, many times) each product mentioned in this post.

What I would love to know, is what are your HG drugstore products? I have been relatively restrained when it comes to beauty hauls recently so I'm taking this as the perfect opportunity to go crazy treat myself... so fire away :)

As always, thank you so much for reading. I hope you enjoyed this post!

xx
© the Elle next door

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