What NOT To Wear To A Job Interview
From Diversity, Inc.
Knowing what not to wear to an interview is as important as knowing what to wear. In today's tight job market where many people are qualified, you want positive differentiators to separate you from the pack. Wearing an ill-fitting or frumpy suit, a tie that distracts, a skirt that is too short or a blouse that is too low are just some of the ways you can undermine your interview with attire that pulls focus away from your résumé and experience.
Recruiters can judge people. It's human nature to judge people based on physical appearance, and that's why it's important to err on the side of caution with what you wear, say and how you appear in an interview," says Carlos Monteagudo, staffing manager for J. P. Morgan Chase and #15 on the Diversity Inc. Top 50 List.
10 things not to wear (or take) to an interview:
1. The short skirt/the tight suit
A skirt is too short when it rises higher than just above the knee cap, says image stylist Mimi Dorsey, co-author of Style Source. "So many women think, 'This is cute or fashionable,' rather than thinking, 'This is appropriate,'" says Dorsey. "You have to research. [Before the interview,] you can walk into the lobby or look online to check out pictures of the company's senior officers. But wear classic-contemporary clothing that is not too severely detailed."
Dorsey adds that tight clothes can stifle an interview. Clothes are too tight if when worn they "have horizontal wrinkles. If they pull anywhere, that wrinkle is an indication that the garment is too tight."
2. Nose rings, unusual piercings, and, if you're a man, earrings
Monteagudo contends that things like nose rings can distract an interviewer from an applicant's qualifications: "Anything that distracts [a recruiter or manager] from evaluating [an applicant] based on skills, then that's a key that you shouldn't go there."
Dorsey adds that women should make sure their jewelry is small, not sparkly and not noisy. "Keep it simple and don't wear rings on every finger," says Dorsey. "For men, wear a watch, a wedding band and that's it. No earrings for men."
3. Leather, strappy sandals and other evening or casual wear
Backless and open-toed shoes are too casual and are also considered evening wear. They could force an interviewer's eyes to focus on toes and feet rather than on the applicant's face and the conversation. Women, if wearing heels, should also make sure they are not too high. That means leave the 4-inch stiletto heels at home.
Men should always wear shirts with collars. Turtlenecks and collarless shirts are too casual. For men, it is preferred that they wear a collared shirt with a tie, say Barcelos and Monteagudo.
5. Fancy nails and excessive makeup
"I've seen very interesting patterns on nails," says Monteagudo. "If someone working for us wore that, we'd have to coach them on proper business attire."
6. Earphones and transit pieces
"About a year ago, I had an applicant in for an interview for a senior position, and the individual came in with his Bluetooth on," recalls Barcelos. "I looked and thought, 'Really?' Throughout the entire interview, he didn't take it off. It was definitely something that made an impression."
Applicants want to impress interviewers with their focus on the interview and the job, and wearing an ear phone doesn't send that message. Things like this can lead an interviewer to make assumptions about your work ethic, adds Barcelos.
"What you don't want to do is have your iPod on while you're waiting in the lobby," says Barcelos. "People don't realize that the interview starts the moment the interview was scheduled on phone. When the applicant comes in, he or she is being looked at--how they walk or dress and carry themselves in the office."
7. BlackBerry devices and cell phones
"Answering your cell in the middle of the interview is not a good thing to do. It sends a clear message about whether they would have sound judgment when working," says Monteagudo.
8. Cigarettes and coffee
"People will smoke a cigarette outside the company's door and throw it on the ground, then waltz into the office, say hello and basically exhale smoke," says Dorsey. "So if you're a smoker, don't smoke prior to the interview."
9. The five o'clock shadow and heavy cologne/perfume
Applicants should also keep in mind that they don't know the olfactory peculiarities of their interviewer, so it is best to go without the colognes, aftershaves and perfumes on the day of an interview. The stakes are too high to allow an overpowering fragrance to distract an interviewer.
10. Too many bags
"You don't want to come in with the roll-in briefcase or the briefcase that's so heavy or tattered it will burst while there," says Barcelos. "Also, don't come in with too many bags in addition to your briefcase. If I see a huge briefcase ready to burst, my question is, 'Is the person going to be unorganized at work?'"