Friday, December 13, 2013

What Not To Wear To An Interview

In a previous post I outlined what are some of the best things to wear to an interview, and now I am going to highlight some extreme no no's when it comes to interview attire. 

You mean this won't work?

Tee Shirts- Funny, witty, cute, solid, wild, whatever they may be, leave them at home.  Opt for a button up or a blouse.  Any applicant that walked in wearing a tee (or god forbid tank), was soon seen walking out without an offer or even a promise of a callback.  It can be seen as disrespectful for someone to be giving you their time to interview you and have you not even make an effort to look professional.

Jeans-  Dark wash, acid wash, skinny, flare, boyfriend, doesn't matter.  Don't wear them.  If you can invest in ten pairs of jeans in different styles you can buy one pair of dress pants to wear to interviews.  I promise you that jeans, even the darkest wash, don't impress anyone at an interview.  Please stop pretending they look super professional.  

Leggings- If you can't wear them to work why would you wear them to an interview.  They're too tight, most of the time see through, and altogether not appropriate for the workplace.  Please please please do not think this is acceptable to interview in.  (Unless they are sheer and under a dress in Alaska in the middle of winter.  Not even under a dress people.  Wear some pantyhose/stockings.)

Anything ripped- Please retire your ripped jeans, the jacket with a hole, the scuffed hem of your dress pants.  Nothing looks as unprofessional as showing up to an office, asking for a large salary, all while wearing clothing with holes in it.  If you only have one good outfit make it your interview outfit.  I am a huge fan of the Salvation Army for interview clothes when you have limited funds, and I promise you there are clothes there that can look good and don't have holes.  

Anything see through- I don't understand the see through trend. I tried to go shopping when I moved down to VA for clothes to wear that looked professional and dressed up, and even in the ladies section their clothes were see through.  Come on guys.  Think of it like this, if your father were a pastor and you were to come to Sunday service in see through clothing, would he be happy about it?  Probably not.  I don't want to see your undergarments, no one wants to see your bra or underwear or anything that could possibly be under your clothes.  If you showed up to an interview in see through clothing the first thing I would think was "excuse me but where are the rest of the fibers that belong in your clothing, and why do you deem this appropriate to wear today?"

Tight revealing clothing-This is not cute, and will not get you a job.  It looks desperate and like you are hoping a horny teenage male will be interviewing you.  Wearing this type of clothing will not get you a leg up, or an advantage over other "frumpy" applicants.  Stoppit. 

Cleavage- Just, no.  Cover up.  Like wearing tight and revealing clothing, showing off the ladies is cheap looking and not something people want in their applicants. They want to be looking at your resume and not your chest. 

Sandals- Dressy sandals, flip flops, sandals with a heel, any concievable type of sandal is a no go.  Opt for a flat, or closed toe shoe, or wedge.  No one wants to see your foot at an interview, and just like a good pair of shoes can pull together an outfit, a bad pair can ruin it.

Sneakers- For the love of all that is holy please do not come into an interview in your workout sneakers or your latest Nike purchase.  Even a black on black pair.  This can be okay depending on the place you are interviewing if you are a male, but in an office setting you better walk in the door with a pair of dress shoes or heels/flats if you are a female.  Like I said, shoes can make or break an outfit and sneakers always fall short when in an interview situation.

Messy hair/makeup- Take a little time today to spruce yourself up. Wash and comb your hair, put on a dusting of blush and some mascara.  Put your hair in a low ponytail, pin it up in a bun, braid it (no pig tails please), straighten it, put some product in it, just make a little effort.  The more you look put together (even if it's only one day and the rest of the time you come to work with hair in a pony tail everyday or left to it's own desires), the better your chances are at landing a job.  I know this is probably extremely superficial but sometimes we have to come to terms with the fact that interviews are your first ever impression to a company, and they do care about how you look.  You will be a representation of their brand, and if you come in looking like you just woke up and fell into ill fitting clothes with some of last nights makeup still holding on for dear life they will judge you.  It's a fact of life.  If you are morally opposed to the above statement I am sorry, you can come in with no makeup and three day old unwashed hair and try and prove me wrong.

Crazy/over the top jewelry-  Don't let your several bangles and ten rings take over the interview.  Jewelry is a great conversation starter at a party, but at an interview it's your work experience their interested in. Tone it down and wear one statement piece to bring out your personality, not overshadow it.

These are just my opinions and not proven fact, but as someone who has worked in the HR position during a hiring season these are the things that people come back and say "you would not believe what that person just wore".  A visual impression is the first impression you get when interviewing.  Even your resume is a visual impression of your work skills.  Don't let your clothing and personal image jeopardize your resume and personality.

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