Interviewing for a Job – Some Basic Dress No-Nos

I have actually gotten depressed by client stories about how people dress for job interviews. So I am working on the premise that people just don’t know – that nobody told them about some of the unwritten rules or even written rules. In hopes of getting people gainfully employed I will spell out some of the basic no-nos. This is a first in a series of articles about appropriate dress and grooming for job interviews.

When dressing for a job interview, please understand that you are not on a reality show. The reality show players (males and females) dress for sensationalism, the camera and the cash. On the average job, the majority of workers could not wear the same attire. In your world you might be “in style”. Boobs showing may be acceptable in your world but at most jobs it is a no-no. Red spiked hair might look good at the club but not in the office. Showing all your body art might impress you friends but necessarily impress the interviewer. The interviewer is not living in your world. The interviewer is assessing whether you can fit into the world of the organization. It is not about how you might think you should dress for success but dressing for success in the culture of the organization. Do you want the job?

Your professional presence when you walk into the room for your interview covers your posture, dress, grooming and non-verbal communication as well as your responses to questions. While there are no strict rules usually it is best to dress conservatively. Dress conservatively may mean to some that you feel you are dressing old and boring. Conservative could mean a cleaned pressed white shirt and dark pants or skirt or a dark suit. It could mean wearing a tie. It could mean not exposing your tattoos. Every organization has a unique culture that addresses issues such as time, dress, formality, chain of command, etc. So do your homework, take the time to identify the culture of the organization before you interview. Do you want the job? You can dress to your culture after work.

Below are some basic grooming and dressing no-no’s when dressing and grooming for an interview.

  • Clothing too tight and restrictive
  • Clothing too short
  • Clothing not pressed
  • Dirty or spotted clothing and shoes
  • Dirty teeth
  • Bad breath or smoke breath
  • Chipped fingernail polish or long nails
  • Heavy perfume or cologne
  • Heavy makeup
  • Distracting jewelry
  • Chewing gums
  • Tight Spandex clothing
  • See-through clothing
  • Sagging pants
  • T-shirts with messages
  • Plunging necklines
  • Blouse or shirt that reveals a bare midriff
  • Exposed shoulders, backs, bosoms, midriffs and thighs
  • Clothing material that is too dressy or too sheer
  • Tattoos and piercings showing

The key is to present no visual surprises. You want the interviewer to concentrate on what you say and how you say and not distracted by how you look. Image puts a frame around all your credentials.

Do you want the job? Do you want the money? How badly do you want it?

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