Interview Attire – The Do’s & Don’ts

Interviewing is often thought of as the over caffeinated, mood changing hour long meeting with a complete stranger that looks like your Dad, but is much more intimidating. Now I am perfectly aware that the ‘stranger’ can be a woman however, usually they are tasked to a male.

So why the stress? Why the anxious car ride to your interview & back? This process can be very daunting & I’ll be doing a post on preparation & follow-through in the up-coming weeks.

This post is dedicated to the very commonly made mistakes that individuals do when going on that first initial interview.

First off, women…less is more.

Leave the long nails, dark nail lacquer & dark make-up for nights out on the town.

Jewelry needs to be kept to a minimum. Earrings, need to be a small hoop or a stud. Any facial piercings need to be removed. A watch is fine as long as its not paired with multiple bracelets. Necklaces need to be kept very simple. Less bling, the better.

Make-up, keep it simple. Try to stay away from bright colors for the initial meeting. This goes for eye shadows as well. You can never go wrong with a nude palette.

Hair, make sure its combed. Keep your hair away from your face makes it a bit easier to keep your hands from playing with it when you get anxious.

Clothing can be tough because not everyone has the finances to go to the mall and splurge on a new outfit. With that said stick to the basics. A dress, pant suit, blouse/skirt are always okay. Rule of thumb for length of skirts/dresses needs to revert back to grade school. If it goes above finger tips its probably too short & risqué for your interview. Blouses need to not reveal any cleavage. 3 inches below your collarbone is usually a safe bet. Make sure any blouse has sleeves. It tends to look a bit on the casual side. Stay away from trends/fads that are current. Keep with safe colors: neutrals, navy, black, white & gray. If your blouse is halfway down your back side then it needs to be tucked in for a cleaner look.

Heels need to be kept to a 4 inch minimum or you can go for a flat. Again no crazy colors or designs. Keep it basic. Open toe is normally not best but I understand if you only have an open pair of heels/flats. Make sure nail beds are taken care of. Hygiene is very noticeable in an interview. If you can not take the time to present yourself for an interview, then an employer will read into you not being able to take the job seriously.

If you must use a pop of color or add a statement necklace please be sure to do it in a subtle manner.

Now men, its very simple and easy to portray a successful image since the accessories are a minimum compared to women.

Stick to a watch as your #1 accessory. Try not to wear a necklace or more then 1 ring on your hands.

Clean, fresh trimmed facial hair is a must. Spring for a haircut if you can afford one at the time. If not try to manage loose hairs with hair products. Again no hair in the face, its too tempting to touch when nerves arise.

Men, cover those tattoos & take any piercings out. Old traditions still for the most part rule over new age.

Be sure to wear a suit, button-down/slacks or for a less form approach polo/khakis. Never wear shorts or jeans. No matter they type of company, it just looks more professional to be clean cut.

Never wear sandals/tennis shoes. Make sure your shoes are kept to a lace up dress shoe, boat shoe or loafer. Make sure shirts are tucked in & that a belt is being worn.

We do not need to see chest hair men. Even if the person interviewing you is a woman, I promise you the chest hair will not woo her. Button it up!

So that’s a bit of sound advice from someone that has interviewed thousands of candidates. Its 1 hour give or take. For that amount of time you can clean up & look the part for the sake of a job. It seriously takes 10 seconds for an impression to be made. Make those 10 seconds count!