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Your attire should be noticed as being appropriate and well fitting, but it shouldn’t take center stage.Never confuse an interview or business function with club attire. You’re dressing for your potential boss, not for a party or date.
When it’s time for the interview, many candidates consistently make the wrong choices regarding their clothing. I’ve seen this more times than I can remember and for me, when it comes to selecting a new employee, it’s often a deal breaker. If you couldn’t be bothered to dress appropriately for this day, it indicates you’ll probably dress even worse on the job.
What you select to wear for the interview tells an employer just what kind of employee you’ll be on the job. Sloppy clothing reflects laziness. Excessive jewelry or make-up implies you lack professionalism. What would your first impression be of people who appeared like this even in the most casual of settings?
Let’s face it; appearances matter and first impressions really matter. And they matter most when you want something from someone…particularly, when you want a job.
Don’t give a potential employer an opportunity to judge you as unmotivated because you didn’t take a few extra minutes to look sharp. Wearing professional and appropriate clothing is a compliment to the interviewer.
6 Do’s When Dressing for a Job Interview
1. Err on the conservative side with a black or gray suit (men), or navy, dark gray, black or brown (women). Even if the work environment might be considerably more casual, a suit for the interview says you’re serious about the job.
2. Along with the suit, a basic white or light blue button-up shirt. Long sleeves (even in summer), and a conservative tie for men. Women: if you wear suit with a skirt, it should reach knee-length. Simple patterned shirts are an alternative to a single color shirt. Pantsuits are a great option as well. Remember, a suit implies the jacket and bottom match!
3. Men can either wear a lace up or a conservative slip-on shoe in black or burgundy. Women would be best with a leather or suede, closed toe pump with moderate height: no stilettos, in a black or another conservative color.
4. Socks for men should match the suit and women’s hosiery in a sheer neutral color. Women often debate the pantyhose issue. My advice is since most of us don’t have “model legs” plan to wear them.
5. Jewelry should be kept to a minimum. Men: a watch and only your wedding ring (if applicable). NO earrings! Women: a classic watch and simple earrings, 1-2 rings and a single bracelet. Extra bling only leads to distraction from you and your qualifications for the job.
6. You’ll need some type of notepad and a way to carry additional resumes and letters of recommendation. If you don’t have a portfolio or small briefcase, some type of padfolio will do (check out Staples or Office Depot). Don’t bring a backpack or large briefcase – they’re bulky and cumbersome.
And what would a great interview outfit be without the proper grooming? Here are a few details you’ll want to address before donning the suit.
- Hair: clean and neat
- Shoes: polished and not overly worn looking
- Clothing details: no missing buttons, no lint; and don’t forget to remove external tags and tacking stitches from new clothes.
- Hands: clean fingernails and a conservative nail length and polish for women.
- Fit: clothes should be clean, neatly pressed, and fit properly.
- Smell: cologne or perfume used sparingly. Also, don’t smell like smoke.