I‘ve received many requests to do a post on interview attire, so today I thought I’d share some quick tips. As a rule, when it comes to your interview look, keep it sleek and simple. Once you get the job, you’ll have the opportunity to evaluate your new work environment and adapt accordingly. Interview day is not the day to “get creative” or show your prospective employer your “fun personality” by wearing that crimson jumpsuit or those studded leather booties that look like something out of a medieval torture chamber. Nothing ends an interview faster than subconsciously equating yourself to the iron maiden.
While proper interview attire varies widely across industries, you should always err on the more formal side. However, this does not mean it’s time to bust out your prom dress and fake eyelashes. Step awayyyy from the sequined accent nails, people. We’re talking business formal, so keep it clean and polished. Overall, you want to be comfortable in what you’re wearing so that you exude confidence and convey the message that you spent more time researching the position and preparing for the interview than you did on your make-up and accessories.
Make sure your clothes fit you well. I know, this is groundbreaking advice. However, whether you’re wearing a pants suit, skirt suit, or a sheath dress with a jacket (like I am in today’s post) pay close attention to both the vertical and horizontal lines. Make sure nothing is too tight or too short (read: Combatting the Slut Factor), but also don’t overcorrect. Wearing things that are too big and baggy make you look sloppy. The goal is to find the happy medium and invest in a suit that fits you well. If you don’t wear well-fitting, appropriate clothing, you’re going to distract the interviewer from focusing on all the mind-blowingly brilliant things you have to say.
Whether you go with flats or heels, make sure they’re polished and simple. You don’t want to sport anything that’s dull, worn, or scratched. No need to have them questioning whether you were recently in a knife fight. And as mentioned, this is not the time to go hog-wild with trendy ankle boots or your strappy designer stilettos. Aside from the slut factor, it seems that 90% of women can’t walk properly in the sky-highs anyway. A major goal of yours upon entrance to the interview should be to give your prospective employer the impression that you do not have a drinking problem. So, make sure your footwear is both appropriate (shoot for 3-inch heels) and comfortable, allowing you to walk like a normal human. If your interviewer is forced to evaluate whether you’re either drunk or just wearing outrageously impractical footwear, they’re probably going to move on to the next applicant. Because in the words of Sweet Brown, ain’t nobody got time for that.
I’m no beauty expert, but when it comes to interviews, stick to the same rule of thumb: sleek and simple. If you have long hair (like me), it’s generally a good idea to wear it back. Regardless of length, you want to appear well-groomed and put-together, without anything falling constantly in your face.
For your nails, either go with clean nails or a neutral nail polish–no accent nails, glitter or metallics. As discussed in a prior post, you don’t want your interviewer to be distracted by the possibility of radiation poisoning due to exposure to nails that may or may not be dipped in uranium. If Carrie Mathison in Homeland has taught me anything, it’s that NO ONE IS SAFE. But that’s an entirely different conversation.
As for make-up–you guessed it–clean and simple. Shoot for a polished, minimal look. No thick eye liner, dramatic eye shadow or crimson lipstick. This is just not the venue.
Again, nothing too trendy or distracting. If you wear jewelry, keep it conservative, delicate and relatively classic. No huge bangles or dangle earrings. Leave your “Bite Me” necklace at home.
I think I should end every post that way from now on. “Leave your ‘Bite Me’ necklace at home.”
It kind of has a nice ring to it.
Keep it classy, people.