Interview Attire - Look the Part!
Has interview attire changed with the times? With business casual attire prevalent in the workplace today, the question of how to handle your interview attire comes up often. Here's my advice:
Always wear a suit to an interview. And, I'm talking about a conservative suit, whether you're male or female. I prefer women to wear a suit with a skirt rather than pants.
Here's a quick run down of the things I review with all of my candidates on their interview clothes - including very senior level professionals. Leave nothing to chance! Interview attire matters. You only get one chance to make a good first impression!
Neat and well trimmed. For women, if you've got wild, curly hair, think about pulling it back. Facial hair on men is acceptable, provided it's neatly groomed.
Neat and well trimmed. For women, if you wear polish, go with a mainstream color and make sure that the length is conservative. Interestingly, I've had clients comment on men who have professionally manicured nails...the comments are never positive! My advice is to stop short of the polish part of the process!
Think conservative. You can never go wrong with IBM blue - navy blue suit/white shirt for men; dark suit (blue, black, brown) for women, with a coordinating top. Woman can add color with a scarf. These rules have loosened up a little, but the interview is not the time to where your neon shirt and Disney tie!
Shined!!! And, for women, a modest heel and closed toe shoes are appropriate. True story...I had a candidate lose an opportunity because her toenails were painted purple with little dots...it was her "weekend" look and the interview was on a Friday afternoon. My client loved her, but hated her toes. He couldn't get past it and she was eliminated from consideration.
Should be minimal and in good taste. Avoid large earrings, bangle bracelets or anything that will detract from your professional image. For men, earrings should be removed.
Avoid wearing perfume or cologne to the interview. You never know who might be allergic to the fragrance you're wearing. And, there's nothing worse than overdone perfume/cologne - I never want to "smell" the candidate before I can see him/her! Some people think that a little cologne can cover up the smell of cigarette smoke. It can't. If you smoke, refrain from having a cigarette before your interview. Many people find the smell offensive.
Again, think conservative and tasteful. For men, we don't want to see your skin peeking out when you cross your legs; for women, sheer beige is most appropriate.
Don't overlook your raincoat or topcoat. Invest in professional looking outerwear (including an umbrella) if you're in a job search. A ratty old coat - or your ski jacket - will not make a good first impression! That umbrella with broken spokes will be remembered too! Make sure you're well packaged!
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