Smart Works

Smart Works is a UK charity that provides high quality interview clothes, styling advice and interview training to women in need.  We give women the confidence, the self-belief and the practical tools they require to succeed at interview and start a new chapter of their life.

At the core of our service is a dressing and interview appointment at one of our Smart Works centres.  During her visit, each woman receives a high-quality interview outfit (theirs to keep) tailored to their taste and style by our Smart Works’ stylists.  This is followed by dedicated one-to-one interview training with an experienced recruitment, HR or coaching professional.

This short intervention has a significant impact as our clients start believing in their own ability to succeed.

The success and impact of Smart Works is driven by the skills of our volunteers and the quality and range of the clothing in our dressing room.

All our service delivery is done by highly skilled, trained volunteers who dedicate their time to helping our clients succeed. Their reward is seeing the impact of unlocking a woman’s confidence, and finding out that she has gone on to succeed at interview and move on with her life.

Our high quality stock is donated from other working women or comes new from retailers, allowing us to build strong partnerships with companies that share our vision of supporting women.  Our dressing room is beautifully set out, full of high quality clothes and gives an immediate boost to anyone who enters.  It is one of the reasons our service has the impact that it does.

Our highly successful, two hour core dressing and interview preparation service achieves consistently high levels of success for our clients, and is at the heart of everything we do.

In the dressing session, with the advice and expertise of our volunteer stylists, each client is offered an excellent selection of high quality clothing to wear for their interview.  The clothes we choose to wear have a huge impact on how we are perceived by others, particularly when meeting people for the first time. Selecting what to wear for a job interview is a critical element of our non-verbal communication, and can be a huge influence on the interviewer when they are making a decision on whom to employ.

We make sure that our clients look fabulous, feel comfortable in the clothes they have chosen, and that they have everything they need, from a winter coat to a pair of tights.

Following the dressing session, our highly skilled volunteer interview coaches work one-to-one with each client in a compassionate and supportive way.  The interview session focuses on increasing the awareness of her own strengths, answering questions effectively and understanding what is expected of them at interview.

Our interview volunteers are all senior managers, HR professional or executive coaches and in a focused session, ahead of a job interview, can have a significant impact on our clients.

When a Smart Works client gets a job, we want them to start their new role with a full working wardrobe. So clients can come back and see us for more clothing to see them through to their first pay cheque.

Then when they re-enter the workplace, our clients are encouraged to join the Smart Works Network meeting every month to further their professional and personal development, helping and motivating each other to continue to succeed.

The Smart Works service is open to any woman who has a confirmed job interview and is referred to us.  We work in close partnership with a wide range of organisations who refer clients to us.  This includes JobcentrePlus, Work Programme providers and numerous charities.  It is vital to us that those women who most need our service are able to access it.

At Smart Works, we place a significant emphasis on being able to demonstrate the impact we are having on our clients.  We have an acclaimed Theory of Change that shows how and why our service is able to help clients succeed at interview. We have also refined our service to be able to follow up with as many clients as possible, and get their feedback on the impact of our service on their journey back to employment.

We were recently awarded a Level 2 validation of our work on the Nesta Standards of Evidence, a recognised framework for demonstrating impact.  This means that we capture data that shows positive change, and can prove that correlation.