Job Interviews and Clothes

Gloria Nye, Bollich, Patricia A., Braud, Emily  |  12/11/2008 10:57:32 PM

75% of employers surveyed in the U.S. said grooming and dress would strongly influence their opinion regarding a job candidate even before the interview began. Where do the right clothes matter the most? The financial industry places the most emphasis on professional work attire, as does sales, and then to a lesser extent, manufacturing and information technology.

How you dress plays a critical role in how others perceive you. You are examined, from head to toe, in all interviews. Not only are your experience and personality sized up, but so is your appearance. Dress for the “part” you’re interviewing/auditioning for, making sure you choose appropriate articles of clothing for what your role would be in that job.

The better you are dressed, the more confident you will feel and present yourself. There is no impression like the first impression. Initial decisions made about you in the first 3 minutes of a job interview are nearly irreversible.

Clothing should not detract from your presentation of yourself. When your clothes look sloppy, so do you. Look the part. If in doubt, dress in a more formal manner. A suit is always good. Wearing a business “uniform” communicates that you are mature, stable and professional.

Do: Wear clean linens, little make-up and conservative heels. Check your clothes for missing buttons, frayed cuffs and any needed repairs. Everything must be clean, neat, stain-free, in good condition and ironed. Hair and nails should be clean and groomed. Scent should be low-key or none. Shoes polished. Before you go, examine yourself, front and back, in a mirror. Be on time or early.

Don’t: No cleavage (plunging necklines) or gum. No flip-flops, sleeveless or cut-off T-shirts, tight skirts or pants, baggy or ripped jeans, tacky accessories, miniskirts or tights. No bulging pockets or sagging coat lining. Avoid loud colors or flashy styles. One of the biggest mistakes is assuming the hottest items in the fashion world will work at work. You don’t need expensive clothes to dress for workplace success.

Tips for men:

A conservative tailored suit in navy or gray with a light shirt and a matching tie in low-key colors, or slacks with a dress shirt and tie, and business shoes with over-the-calf dark socks.

Tips for women:

A simple, tailored suit or dress, a dress & jacket combination, a simple skirt and blouse in conservative colors (blue, gray or black). Use make-up sparingly. Wear low-heeled pumps with flesh-colored hose.

Interview Body Language:

What does fidgeting, leaning back, crossing your legs, avoiding eye-contact or having a limp hand shake say about you? Shake hands, make eye contact and (sincerely) say thank you for the interview.

Interview Responses to Questions: “Tell me about yourself.”

Definitely be yourself, but remember, what you DON’T say can be as important as what you DO say! Think about your response before you speak. Avoid saying “you know,” “like” or “I mean” or any inappropriate language in your interview responses. Practice before you go to the interview.

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