Dressing for an Interview: The Do’s and Dont’s

The Office Edit-white pencil skirt

I’ve meant to talk about dressing for interviews for a while now but thanks to my (hopefully former) lack of organization, never got to it. (Blogger tip: Plan all your posts, and if you have a post idea start writing a draft asap).

We all go through them, interviews. This is one of those events where the saying ‘first impressions last’ couldn’t be truer. The way you dress is indicates to the interviewer how serious you are about your job.

I’ve done a little research, so using that together with my experience I have compiled a do’s and don’t list for interviews.

Before I get started, The rule of thumb when dressing for an interview is that you don’t want your interviewer to be distracted. The focus should be on your skills and what you have to offer the company. The last thing you want is to lose out on a job because you didn’t look the part. Generally avoid anything that could cause the interviewer’s eyes to wander.

Beauty

  • Makeup: I don’t think there’s anything wrong with a little makeup in an interview. Just keep it as natural as possible. The last thing you want is for the person interviewing you to stare at your gold eye shadow or red lip the whole time.
  • In fact to be safe I would stay away from the lipstick altogether. Unless it’s nude,proper nude, not the type that leaves you looking hungry (black girls you know what I mean) lipstick can be the very distracting. Basically, a little lip balm, maybe a light gloss, should suffice.
  • Nails: neatly groomed, with a toned down color. Think neutral colors or pastels.
  • Hair: Keep it away from the face or you’ll find yourself fidgeting with it in the interview which can be distracting for the interviewer. Also don’t color your hair a bright color before an interview. I may not do it but I work with people that have red, blue, purple even green hair. Nothing wrong with that, once you’re IN. As I’ve said before, when it comes to an interview, it’s best to keep the focus on your skills and not on your appearance.

Clothes

  • If you’re interviewing for a corporate job it’s pretty simple. Stick to the basics. If you think it’s too much, it probably is. You don’t necessarily need to wear a blazer but I definitely think it makes you seem a bit more polished. Something like a pant suit will also work but if you want you can ditch the blazer. I’ve personally always worn blazers for my interviews, just in case.
  • A little trick I learned when dressing professionally: think in threes. Three clothing pieces, you can’t go wrong.
  • No one needs to see your skin. Short skirts, spaghetti strap tops, low cut tops.. you get the point.
  • Shoes: Avoid trends. You can never go wrong with a closed-toe pump and make sure it’s comfortable, rather wear pumps if you’re not too sure about heels. You don’t want your interviewers to talk about your wobbly walk once you leave the room.

Accessories

  • Less is more. Accessories draw attention which also means they can be distracting. An interesting accessory is a great conversational piece but that can either help or hurt you. You’re not here for that. You can take a gamble and hope that it’s the former and not the latter.

Overall, unless you’re interviewing for a job that requires you to be creative, think: NO DISTRACTIONS. Before you leave the house think of the following:

  • Is there anything on me that could be distracting?
  • Could I be an ambassador for this company?  (I’m assuming you’ve done your research on the company’s brand)
  • If I was CEO of this company, am I the kind of person I would want to see walking down the company’s corridors?

Here are some looks I’ve featured on The Office Edit that would be great for interviews if you don;t want to go for the traditional ‘suit’ look:

The Office Edit-white pencil skirt

The Office Edit- Layering

 

Let me know what your tips are when dressing for an interview below..

xo, Pelo.

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