About your appearance

One of the first considerations for going into an interview is to control what the employer sees. People judge others by their appearance every day. Dressing for an interview is as important as the resume and interview themselves. Proper grooming and dress for an interview follow different rules for both men and women as well as the position level.

Appearance and Dress for Men

One of the biggest mistakes you can make is not exceeding the expectations of the employer during an interview. Basic requirements for any position will be an appearance of preparation, thoughtfulness and consideration of the employers wants and needs. With this in mind there are two areas which must be addressed before going into an interview.

Proper grooming for an interview

  • You should be freshly showered and free from foul odors
  • Your hair should be neatly combed and clean in appearance
  • Deodorant is a must while cologne is optional and should be used sparingly
  • Clean and trimmed fingernails
  • Your teeth should be clean and it is good advice to use mouthwash
  • Be sure to shave or trim the beard and mustache before the interview

Another consideration is the proper attire. Even if it seems as if you are over-dressing for an interview, remember that you are trying to focus what the employer sees on your skills not the looks.

Dressing for an interview

  • Be sure to do laundry the night before and include what you will wear at the interview
  • Wrinkled clothing shows a lack of attention to detail and a possible lazy attitude
  • Wear clean and pressed slacks
  • Make sure to wear socks, preferably a dark color
  • Dress shoes are suitable for an interview
  • For jobs higher than blue collar, a sport jacket or suit jacket and tie are appropriate

Appearance and Dress for Women

Dressing and grooming for an interview is equally as important for women as for men. For women today, what an employer sees is even more important that it once was. Appearing businesslike and ready to work will halt any possible overtones or objections which might be raised.

Proper Grooming for an Interview

  • Most of the rules for grooming apply for both men and women
  • If you have long hair, wear it tied up and neat so that the employer focuses on your face and what you have to say
  • Use lighter or natural shades of nail polish and lipstick
  • Use little makeup if possible; heavy makeup gives the appearance that you are either hiding or uncomfortable with yourself

Dressing for an Interview

  • Most rules for dress again apply to both men and women
  • Wear low heel shoes which are darker than the slacks
  • If wearing nylons, choose a natural or neutral color
  • The slacks and top should be of complementary muted colors with either a complementary or contrasting blazer
  • For more professional jobs a skirted suit is the rule

While many of these tips may seem obvious, considering how you look for an interview is important. Your goal is to have the employer concentrate on positive points about you and what you say, not what you look like. Toning down and dressing up for the interview helps obtain this goal. This helps the employer focus on what you can do for them and not the outer packaging.