No matter how well you speak, no matter how detailed your resume, the way that you look can either enhance your interview, or completely derail it before it even began. Your interviewer will study your look to determine how seriously to take the other parts of your presentation. In general, the candidate dressed in a suit and tie is going to make a much better impression than the candidate dressed in scruffy jeans and a t-shirt. Here are the top tips to hone your professional look.
first impressions matter
- You should be as buttoned up as possible when you walk through the door to the interview room. Carry a handkerchief to get rid of that extra sweat on your brow. To avoid underarm leakage, layer a t-shirt with sleeves under your professional shirt.
- Overdressing is fine; underdressing is not. Men should always come in the door wearing a tie. Ladies should invest in a nice set of dress pants and a sweater. Style is always good to have, but it is secondary to professionalism.
- If you are wearing a suit jacket, always enter the interview space with the top two coat buttons fastened. Unbutton the coat only when invited to sit down.
be mindful of hygiene
- Ladies and gentlemen can both invest in a cologne or perfume to bring a good smell through the door. You do not need to drown yourself in the fragrance, however. A dash of scent on the sides of the neck is usually enough.
- Make sure that you shower directly before the interview. Trim your nails, and style your hair in a professional and neat manner.
- Brush and floss your teeth. Brush your teeth after your last meal and before your interview. There is nothing worse then going in with food stuck in between your teeth.
arrive early and prepare
- There will always be a piece of your look that you can tweak in the office bathroom before the interview. Make sure that you arrive early enough to find the inevitable weak spot and correct it. Half an hour before your interview should be enough time to do this.
- Take note of any extra sweat that your body produces. You may want to bring an extra shirt, blouse or sweater and leave it in the car in case you have to wait in a hot lobby. If your outfit gets too humid, you can make a quick change right before you go in.
- Take special note of your shoes. You may have attracted some mud or dirt walking into the office. Clean any excess crud off of your shoes in the bathroom before your interview.
there is nothing wrong with a little style
- You can employ a personal style, but make sure that you are not clashing with company culture. You can get a great sense of a company's culture through its Glassdoor profile.
- Make sure that you are employing a professional style. You can buy a $300 pair of jeans that rival the expense of a professional pair of pants. However, the cost of your clothes has very little to do with how professional you look. Think GQ, not Maxim.
- Style is an accent, not a statement. Keep your style markers small. It is better to have a loud pair of socks than a loud shirt or a loud blazer. When in doubt, solid colors are never bad. Match the color of your belt and shoes. Use a color wheel to match colors without creating a distracting look.
Next step: sell yourself