Within a few seconds, others judge you on your appearance. A professional appearance is a quality employers consider important, yet find missing in many candidates. More than half of communication is nonverbal. Both your physical appearance and the way you present yourself are the primary ingredients of first impressions.
For interviewing, conservatism and conformity are the order. This is not the time to set new standards with the latest trends. Your goal is to present a professional and competent image that convinces your future employer that you can competently represent their organization. Please note the following guidelines:
- A well-fitting, two-pieced suit in a dark color such as navy, gray, or charcoal. Plain colors, very small tartan plaids, or pin stripes are best. Try to consider a shade which compliments your coloring. Pant legs should rest on shoe with slight crease. Make sure the suit is cleaned and pressed and the pockets are empty.
- The shirt should be white or light colored, long-sleeved, freshly laundered and neatly pressed. Wear a cotton undershirt for a cleaner, more finished look.
- Ties can be stripe, paisley, dot or other small patterns. Avoid colors that are too bright and also elaborate patterns. Be sure the tie is coordinated with the suit.
- Shoes should be oxfords or other dress shoes in black, brown, or cordovan and fresh shined. Socks should compliment the suit and be the longer over-the-calf length.
- Jewelry should be limited to one ring and a tie tack. Tongue rings, earrings, or other piercings are inappropriate. No tinted glasses.
- Cover tattoos.
- Clean and trimmed head and facial hair and a fresh shave. Don't over style hair with too much gel.
- Minimal or no cologne or after shave
- Clean, trimmed nails
- Do not eat, smoke or chew gum during the interview.
- A classic suit in navy blue, gray, taupe or black is always appropriate.
- White or light-colored tailored, pressed blouses create a polished look.
- Keep accessories simple. Wear closed, basic pumps in good repair with lower (one to two inch) heels. Briefcases or portfolios are optional. Purses, if carried, should be small and tailored.
- Modest jewelry looks more professional and sophisticated. One ring on each hand is enough with none on the thumb. Only one earring in each ear is suggested with no other piercings or tongue rings.
- Wear skin-toned hose or colors no darker than your hemline. No runs.
- Clean, well-groomed hair. Hair looks best at shoulder length or shorter. If long, tie it back.
- Nails should be manicured and not too long. Nail polish should be clear or natural.
- Very light or no perfume. No heavy makeup.
- Cover tattoos.
Business Casual Attire
Business casual usually means khaki pants, a plain polo shirt or a long-sleeved button-down shirt, a V-neck sweater, sometimes a sport coat or blazer, and brown leather shoes. Loafers are a good choice, and wear socks. Do not wear sweats, jeans, athletic shoes, tank tops, or anything ripped or torn.
Women usually wear slacks or a skirt, no jeans, and a nice blouse or sweater. A jacket/blazer is good. Shoes can be loafers, oxfords or other casual conservative flats. Be sure you are well coordinated in terms of color and style and don't stray to an extremely relaxed look. Do not wear sweats, jeans, athletic shoes, tank tops, or anything ripped or torn.