HAVE CURB APPEAL AT JOB INTERVIEWS?
real estate agents advise homeowners to dress up the
front of their homes to make a great first impression,
recruiters warn job seekers that hiring managers will
judge them during interviews on many levels, including
how they look.
your resume, conducted research on the company, and
rehearsed question-and-answer scenarios for more than a
week. You are extremely prepared. In fact, you even did
a dry run to the company's office building to time your
The day has arrived for the interview. You are feeling
great. You walk into the interviewer's office, shake
their hand and engage yourself in a professional
Your recruiter would be so proud to see how well you are
handling yourself. They would also cringe if they saw
how you were dressed!
The decision about what to wear is very important, and
not always easy. First impressions are largely based on
appearances. Just as a prospective homebuyer knows that
this is the house of their dreams the moment they pull
up to the curb or walk through the front door, it only
takes a few seconds for a hiring manager to form an
opinion about you before a word is spoken.
The dilemma about what to wear on a job interview ranges
from the color choice to the style of your outfit. The
decision should be based on several factors, such as the
weather and the type of position you are interviewing
If the company or position is in a conservative industry
such as finance or education, it is best to dress
conservatively. Dark colors are always safe, but you do
not need to look depressing. Varying shades of gray,
blue and tan are always a safe bet.
If you are a female, it is acceptable to wear pants or a
skirt. It does not need to be a suit, but it should be
an outfit that looks planned. If you choose to wear a
skirt, make sure it is not too short or too tight. Men
will get the wrong idea and women will be judgmental.
For both men and woman, a light colored shirt or tie can
add a bit of interest to an outfit or suit, and is more
than enough. A smart hairstyle, basic jewelry and a
clean, high-quality pair of shoes should finish the look
If the company is hip and creative, you do not want to
look like a banker unless you are applying for the
controller position. Even though you may opt to wear a
patterned shirt or a purple suede skirt, you still need
to have a business sense about you. You must know where
to draw line between creative and overdone.
If you are really unsure, sit outside the office
building to see what everyone else is wearing. Or, call
the receptionist and explain that you have an interview
and would appreciate any advice on what to wear. For
example, should you wear a jacket, a suit or casual
After that, if you are still unsure, bring a jacket to
the interview. If you see that everyone looks dressed
down on a Monday morning, carry your jacket neatly on
your arm for a more relaxed look.
If you are bringing papers to the interview, such a
copies of your resume, reference letters, and a
portfolio or sampling of your work, use a nice
briefcase. Be sure not to carry it all in your arms.
This makes you look sloppy. Moreover, you risk dropping
a pile of papers and looking clumsy and disorganized.
Be sure not to wear too much perfume or cologne. Do not
chew gum or have candy or mints in your mouth during the
interview. If you smoke, have your last cigarette at
least fifteen minutes before you arrive. Use a lemon
wipe on your hands after you smoke and drink some juice
or water, not coffee, before the interview. It will
hydrate you and minimize the likelihood of having a dry
mouth from nerves.
Before stepping out the car, cab, bus or train, take a
moment to meditate. Close your eyes, relax your
breathing, do some light stretching to release tension,
and think positive thoughts. Visualize yourself meeting
everyone and remind yourself that you are interviewing
them, as well. If you look good and are prepared
mentally, you will have a competitive edge.