First impressions count
According to some research, roughly 5% of hiring decisions were made within the first minute of the interview, and nearly 30% within five minutes. This just highlights how important first impressions are. So what do you do if you’ve managed to bag that crucial interview, but don’t have any smart clothes to wear to make sure that first impression is as good as it can be?
Visit Smart Works in Edinburgh!
Smart Works is a charity based in Edinburgh whose purpose is to help unemployed women into work by providing free access to good quality clothing, accessories and interview practice.
Women can be referred to Smart Works, or can selfrefer (but will just need to answer a few questions). They then get an hour to try on a huge range of suits, blouses, skirts, trousers – and even accessories including shoes, scarves, handbags, jewellery and make-up. The items are theirs to keep and when they’ve secured that job, they can come back and get more clothing to keep them going until their first paycheque. Two of our team went to visit and were amazed at the stunning range of clothing – some donated as second-hand by individuals, but lots donated as unsold or end-of-line stock by well-known retailers.
The purpose of the charity is obviously to help people get work, but they also play a big part in reducing textile waste. The Love Your Clothes campaign states that around 30% of clothing in the average UK wardrobe hasn’t been worn in over a year. We suspect quite a lot of that could be interview clothing – which could be passed on to someone else who needs those items – helping to extend the useful life of those clothes and reducing their carbon footprint.
Through Smart Works, those ‘hardly-worn’ items can be re-used, or retailers can make sure their ‘end-of-line’ items go to a good home. And Smart Works try to make sure nothing goes to waste. If they can’t make use of items, they go to their sales events to raise valuable funds for the project, to other charities/community organisations or to Nathans Wastesavers.
So how can you help?
- If you work for an organisation that sees women trying to get into work, refer them to Smart Works if appropriate
- Get in touch with Smart Works if you’re part of a not-for-profit organisation that needs clothing for women
- Get in touch if you’re able to donate items (at the time of writing, they have plenty of clothes, but need good quality shoes suitable for interview situations).