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What the White House party crashers can teach you about interviewing

The Salahi's meet President Obama
The Salahi's meet President Obama

Unless you have been hiding under a rock, you know that on November 24, Michaele and Tareq  Salahi attended a White State dinner without an invitation. The dinner was held to honor the prime minister of India. This incident is one of the top security breaches of the White House albeit not the first for any administration.  So what does a party crashing couple have to do with your job search?  I'm convinced there are lessons to be learned from this incident. I am not condoning what this couple is accused of doing, but the irony is that the Salahi's did some things that can be applied to your job search and interviewing:

1) Look the part

One reason the Salahi's were able to breach security  was because they looked the part. Mrs. Salahi wore a traditional Indian sari, had nicely coiffed hair and her husband wore a tuxedo just like the other gentlemen.  Whenever you are searching for employment or interviewing, be aware of what you wear , whether you are going to complete an application or to conduct actual interivew, dress professionally. People make very quick judgements about whether or not you will fit into their company or organization based on the first and lasting impression made by your attire. Conservative business attire is always safe bet, even for creative professions. Women and men should wear properly fitting clothing. Try your outfit on a week to one month before your interview.  Even if it is a casual day for the company on the day of your interview, you need to dress conservatively and professionally. Your professional attire demonstrates that you care enough to dress up for your potential employer.

2) Be confident

When looking for employment, many candidates tend to get so uptight that it makes it hard for an employer to relax when meeting them. Especially if it's a first interview. The Salahi's apparently breezed through the White House party with an ease and confidence that allowed them to meet a lot of new people, from celebrities to high ranking political officials. I'm sure they smiled, gave a firm handshake and engaged in small talk effectively. Even though you may be initially nervous and feel slightly awkward when meeting new people, make direct eye contact, shake hands and smile.

3) Be determined

In recent weeks, we've learned more about the Salahi's. It appears that Mrs. Salahi was being considered for a reality show. Check out the list of potential cast members for The Real Housewives of DC . It appears that there were emails and conversations with a White House insider. News of emails and phone conversations continue to surface. Long before you interview, be sure to speak to those you may already know who work at the organization or ask them if they know somebody who does. Avoid contrived, fake interactions but if you know someone who has an insider connection, be sure to call to ask about the organizational culture and if they have the name of a decsion maker that you can meet or contact to arange an information gathering meeting. Ahem...avoid showing up if the contact or meeting has not been confirmed.

4) No matter what, be honest!

While the Salahi's continue to be under public scrutiny and face legal charges, they are a lesson in how far confidence and determination can get you. At the same time, the greater lesson they teach us is that no matter how desperate you get, don't ever resort to deception or dishonesty. Present a professional image , network with confidence but avoid using deception to get to decision makers. Trust me, no matter how far you get, you'll get thrown out of the party and ridiculed in the end. 

Tell me what you think...


  • Kathy G 5 years ago

    Great analogies ... not condoning either, but so true!

  • Karen LL 5 years ago

    Thanks Kathy, I appreciate you reading this!

  • Anna S 5 years ago

    I would have never thought of what they did that way. But I do get your point. Nicely done!