How you appear for your interview is the first impression your future employer will have of you. You only get one chance for that first impression so it needs to be a positive one. Below are some tips on appearance dos and don'ts for interviews.
- Avoid jangly and excessive jewelry. Although bangle bracelets or long, dangly earrings may be your jewelry of choice, it is best to keep things more conservative for your first meeting. No facial jewelry or ankle bracelets should be worn. Rings should be conservative in size and no more than two per hand.
- Eye makeup should not look like you are preparing for a glamour photo shoot, unless you actually are.
- No wild nail polish or makeup. This goes for women and men alike. Long and uncut nails are a turn off and can reflect badly on how you take care of yourself, your surroundings and your job. Neutral colors, neatly groomed and mid to short length would be best. Also take care not to over-do the cologne or perfume. Less is more in this case, and when in doubt, go with a natural soap scent. This also takes into consideration people who may be scent sensitive. The last thing you need is an interview that is going great to be cut short because of an allergy to the scent you are wearing.
- Choose your shoes carefully. Wear shoes appropriate to the outfit you are wearing, but avoid open toe or backless shoes. This includes crocs or mules. Your shoes should be comfortable so they aren't distracting for you or your interviewers and of a mid to low height. Keep the color conservative as well. It's also a good idea to clean and polish your shoes the night before and double check them before the interview. Scuffs on your shoes, or dragging something in on the bottom of your shoe, can be more than embarassing during an interview.
- No bare legs. If wearing a skirt, wear stockings or tights, even on the very hot summer days, in a neutral color or a conservative color that will match your shoes.
- Speaking of skirts. If wearing a skirt, it should be no shorter than three inches above the knee. Capri pants and leggings are an interview no no.
- No leather coats and jackets. Leather should be avoided by both men and women. This includes blazers as they look like outerwear.
- Briefcases, handbags and portfolios. These should be used only when necessary and a conservative color and size. There is no need to carry a briefcase to produce a copy of your resume. For women carrying a handbag into an interview, it should be conservative color and size and compliment your outfit. Set your briefcase, handbag or portfolio on the floor as to not be distracting during the interview.
- Well fitted suits. Men should avoid suits that are very dated (lapels too wide or too narrow). Tailors can easily fix a good suit with a new lapel. The suit should be comfortable and not look like you're afraid to take a deep breath in fear of the buttons popping off during the interview. For women, a conservative neckline, fit and length is important. A job interview is not the place to flaunt physical assets.
- Comfort is key. Make sure whatever you wear is comfortable. If you decide to wear wool in an interview and fidget because you're itchy, it can leave a bad impression on your interviewers. If the outfit is new, wear it for an hour to make sure there aren't any tags or issues with the fabric or fit. Make sure you have time to fix the issue or find an alternative outfit.
- Top it off. Make sure your hair is clean, neatly cut or styled, and not distracting in color or arrangement. Women with long hair might consider pulling it back out of their face to avoid distracting strands or fidgeting.
It is also important to take into consideration the industry for which you are interviewing.
- It is generally best to wear a suit and tie, or for women a blouse/sweater and skirt/pants to an interview for a management position in any industry.
- Positions in which you will be working directly with the public, such as sales, finance, hospitality, customer service or education, it is best to dress with an air of confidence, respect and responsiblity.
- In fields such as technology, automotive or trades they tend to be a little more lenient with the dress code. Still dress appropriately and in a manner that shows you care about your appearance and want the job.
- A t-shirt with a beer logo on the front and torn jeans with tennis shoes is not appropriate interview attire for ANY industry.