They say you should always dress for the job you want. Here at Masiello Employment, we know the job you want might not require a formal outfit, but we think you should dress your best for an interview, regardless of the job you want.
Of course, we don’t think it’s wise to spend a fortune on new clothes while you’re on the hunt for a new job—and we also know your outfit extends beyond your clothes (we’re looking at you, chewing gum!)—and so we created an Interview Dress Code Edition of Do’s and Don’t-You-Dares.
Do… Wear a flattering, confidence-boosting outfit. Whether you get the ensemble in a shop or your closet, make sure it is well-fitting, clean, and ironed for the big day. If you’re buying a new outfit, we suggest checking out budget-friendly retailers like TJ Maxx and Target, ladies can explore gently used clothing at Linda’s Closet, and everyone can benefit from a thrift store like the Salvation Army in Keene—you can get a surprisingly nice outfit for a surprisingly small investment; just remember to go for something classic and timeless (and not at all trendy) so you can wear it for years to come, in situations beyond an interview.
Don’t-You-Dare… Chew gum. Whether it is a nervous habit or a last-minute attempt to banish bad breath, chomping your way through an interview is distracting and unprofessional—it also suggests you don’t take the position seriously. For fresh breath, have a mint several minutes before the interview.
Do… Ask for a fashion critique. Whether you’re wearing a new outfit or your favorite duds, it might be impossible for you to make an objective assessment of your look, so ask a trusted friend or family member (or a sales associate) for honest feedback on your outfit, with you in it!—remember to interpret their comments as helpful, and not at all personal.
Don’t-You-Dare… Leave your phone on. There it is, tucked in your purse or your back pocket, forgotten and just waiting for a most inopportune time to ring—don’t let it ruin the moment, and your chances of getting the job! Before you walk into your interview, turn off your phone. If you’re wearing ear buds or other phone accessories, remove them and store them out of sight.
Do… Get your hair cut before the interview (and, if you’re a guy, make sure your beard is well-trimmed or your face is clean-shaven). Showing that you care about all the details of your look implies that you’ll care about all the details of your job.
Don’t-You-Dare… Show up carrying a super-sized to-go container of coffee or tea. It’s an unwieldy accessory and puts you in the awkward position of (1) having to find a place to put it and (2) trying to talk between sips. If you must fuel up on caffeine, do so before the interview and then recycle the cup!
Do… Consider your shoes. The pair you choose must complement your outfit, of course, and must also look, well, not worn. And give them a good shine if they need it—this easy-to-forget step can really improve your overall look (like a good haircut, it says that the little details matter to you, which is something every potential boss appreciates).
Don’t-You-Dare… Douse yourself in cologne or perfume. It’s good to leave a lasting impression, but you don’t want that to be in the form of a lingering scent. Go without for the day, or go very, very sparingly.
On a similar note, Don’t-You-Dare… Reek like cigarettes. We all have our vices, we understand. And it’s perfectly fine for you to make your own adult choices. But especially if you are under stress before the interview, avoid the temptation to partake in a closed environment (like your car) before stepping into a smoke-free office. You don’t smell it, but everyone else does, and it’s akin to cologne use or good hygiene, any overwhelming odor is noticed.
Do… Make sure your hands and nails look presentable (read: not dirty). Give them a good trim and, if you wear nail polish, consider choosing a neutral shade that won’t draw attention away from your resume. If you work outdoors for a living and your hands are in a perpetual state of worn, do your best – a little lotion and a scrub is all it takes.
Follow these rules, and you’ll achieve something vital to interview success: you’ll make a positive first impression.
For more tips on the interviewing process, be sure to keep an eye on the Masiello Results at Work Blog.