Monday, March 12, 2012

How to Dress For an Interview

Hello lovelies!  Today I had a super HUGE interview (which went amazingly!), and I thought I'd share with you some of my proven tips and tricks for properly nailing an interview!  Well, how to look the part at least :)  Over the course of my career, I've interviewed several people and I've talked with several people in HR and they've shared their tips with me.  The biggest surprise is that their mind is made up about you before they even shake your hand. This shocked me, but I soon realized how true it is.  Now my experience is in the corporate world, in finance and data analysis.  So if you are in a more creative field this may not all hold true.  But if you work or are looking for work in a corporate, professional environment, I strongly suggest you take my advice!  {More after the break}

First and foremost, you need a SUIT.  And not just any suit.  A well made, tailored wool suit.  Mine is from Banana Republic.  There is no reason every woman should not have one in her closet.  It can be a blazer and either slacks or a skirt or both, in case a second interview comes up!  The most important thing to remember is that you are selling YOURSELF in an interview, and the first impression you put out makes or breaks the interview.  And lets face it, we judge people based on how they dress.  Especially in an interview setting.  A mismatched or cheap suit or even worse, the lack thereof shows that you do not take yourself or your career seriously.  Yes, a good suit is an investment, but it's an investment into your CAREER.

Now what to wear with the suit?  I always wear a cream colored silky blouse.  I have a strong distaste for the crisp cotton blouses, and find that they are too stereotypical.  I think a nice cream silky blouse looks chic, polished and sophisticated.  For shoes, I have a pair of interview shoes.  And like the name, that's all I wear them for.  This way, they'll never be scuffed or ragged looking.  Mine are plain black leather and have about a 3" heel with a 1/2" platform.  I would NEVER recommend wearing anything higher unless you are interviewing at a local strip bar.

I ALWAYS wear my hair up and off my face, in either a bun or a ponytail.  Yes, my hair may look better down, but it can come across as unkempt, unprofessional, and sloppy. Besides, you'll come across as a ditz when you keep playing with your hair.

For makeup, I keep it natural, but well polished.  I wear neutral colored shadow and liner, and wear a neutral-ish lipstick.  Leave the bright shades for a night out!  If you are going to do your nails, choose a VERY muted natural shade, or even just a clear base coat.  You may have an amazing mani with some killer nail art, but it will distract from your skills and talents.  And the interviewer may even be so distracted that they won't be paying attention!

Ahhh jewelry.  We all love it, don't we?  And we feel so pretty and special in it.  But it has its place, and during an interview that place is in your jewelry box.  Please don't do the cliche pearls, if you must wear a necklace, I'd suggest a delicate chain.  No statement necklaces!  I actually don't wear any.  I wear small diamond studs in my ears and I wear a watch.  That's it!  Now for you engaged/married ladies.  THIS IS IMPORTANT.  You may have an enviable rock on your left hand, but wearing it is DETRIMENTAL.  Here's why.  If you are engaged or just wearing your engagement ring, you will be judged.  They will think that all you will do is spend time planning a wedding and not working.  I am serious as a heart attack - leave the damn ring at home ladies.  Also, a sizable rock also implies that your better half makes some pretty good cash and you don't need to work.  Or you're just looking for a place to work for a little while, only to get pregnant, have kids, and take off.  This may sound sexist, but I can assure you that it is true.  If married, wear only a SIMPLE band.  If it's diamond encrusted, leave that at home too.  This is the BIGGEST mistake that women make, and as horrible as it sounds, it is absolutely true.

Now that you've got the whole look down, what do you bring with you?  Well depending on the type of job you are going for, you may need a portfolio of your work.  But at the very least, you need a notepad and pen, spare resumes, and any questions you've come up with in your preparation.  But what about the extras?  Here's another HUGE mistake women make - carrying a purse.  The things I've listed above are all you need, and lugging and digging around in a purse looks unprofessional and unorganized.  A leather folio is all you need.  Women too often feel that they need to bring a purse, but why?  Car key?  Take it off the ring and stick it in your blazer pocket.  ID?  Goes into a card slot in your folio.  There is no need for a cell phone or anything else, and yes, you will be judged negatively for having one.  A lot of places start the interview the second you pull into the parking lot, or enter the building.  What kind of vibe are you sending?  When you are sitting in the lobby, are you texting away on your phone?  Updating your facebook status?  They've made their decision about you.  That sweet receptionist?  She's in on it too.  The second you leave, they're asking her about you.  I'm looking over my notes, the job description, and my questions.  What are you doing?

I can honestly tell you all that I've never interviewed for a job and not received an offer.  The point to all this is that we NEED a job, and we spend so much time on our resume only to blow the interview by trying to 'inject personality' into our interview attire.  Let me tell you this, your personality will shine through during the interview, in your answers, your demeanor, and your responses.  But an interview is no place to showboat.  Save the fun stuff for AFTER you've landed the job!

So tell me ladies, what are your tried-and-true interview tips?



  1. how am i just realizing how fab your legs are?

  2. You're looking great lady! I think you need some sort of exec position!! Glad to hear the interview went so well. Hope you get the position!

  3. This is exactly what I wear but I add a string of pearls.

    Serena :)

  4. Good luck on your interview! I hope you get the job, or at least an invitation to come back for another round. Quick question, I notice in your picture you have your suit jacket buttoned, is that the correct etiquette? (BTW, I’m a male, if that makes a difference). Usually for my interviews and church, I keep my jacket open when sitting down and fasten my top button when standing/walking.

  5. Perfect interview tips! I hope you get the job (keeping my fingers crossed). I don't wear a button down because I have problems with fit so I normally wear a bright color shell to add a little color near my face.

  6. That's a very nice post!
    You look great <3

  7. woah!! u look superb... and those suggestions are really cool... love ur writing style


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