As much as acing a job interview is the result of your qualifications for that position, how you present yourself also plays a part. If the latter isn’t on par with the former, you could miss out on a great opportunity.
In fact, I witnessed a kid lose out on a job because he didn’t dress the part of a professional for the interview. He was a recent college grad and my boss loved everything he had to say during the sit-down, but his interview attire — which included jeans and a pair of trainers — spoke volumes about his character. His work ethic may have been topnotch but his clothes didn’t convey that, so the position was offered to someone else.
A job interview is already intimidating enough; there’s no need to add even more stress by worrying about whether or not you’re dressed appropriately. If you’re unsure of how you should show up for what could be the opportunity of a lifetime, here are a few infallible rules that should follow.
Dress Clean and Conservative
Yes, I know you’re an “individual.” And you want to “stand out.” Because you’ve got “style.” But do me a favour, won’t you? Leave it at home; a job interview is no place to test out the latest fashion trend. Instead, think corporate and opt for a solid colored single-breasted suit, a white (light blue is acceptable, too, but white is safer) long-sleeve collared shirt, a conservative tie (no skulls and crossbones here), dark socks (always!), and polished dress shoes. Ensure that everything fits properly as well. You don’t want to swim in your suit and you don’t want it to be so tight that you look like you stole it from your kid brother. The goal here is to blend in, look put together but bland, so your personality and qualifications can shine through.
Remove Your Bling
If you like to rock jewelry — rings, watches, necklaces, etc. — take it all off before the interview. Exceptions include your wedding ring (so long as it’s simple, not gaudy) and a conservative watch. A watch with a stainless steel or leather band is most appropriate; nothing made of rubber should be on your wrist. Remove any bracelets you have on, and if you wear a necklace, either take it off or stuff it under your shirt so no one can see it. Diddy can sport the ice during a business meeting; you cannot.
Get a Haircut
There’s a reason why your mother gushes over you when you get a haircut — you look handsome, dude. So before you sit down with the CEO, head to the barber to get a fresh, clean trim. This is no time to get adventurous, either. Ask for a normal haircut instead of one that will make you look like you lost a bet. While the barber is at it, ask him for a shave, too. If you’re partial to your beard, no problem — you can keep it — but it must be tidied up so your future boss doesn’t mistake you for a street bum.
Apply Cologne Sparingly
If anyone can smell your cologne or aftershave from more than a third of a meter away, you’re wearing way too much. As a rule of thumb, use only one spritz of cologne in your hair (you hair holds scents longer) and one on your body. If you have the kind of cologne that you dab on, two small drops on either side of your neck will do the trick. The reason you want to limit the amount of cologne you use is because some people are sensitive to certain smells. You don’t want the interviewer cutting your time short because your odor is making their face freak out.
Tidy Up Your Nails
There are few things more disgusting than dirty fingernails. You don’t have to get a professional manicure (although, there’s nothing wrong with that), but you must clean up your hands by trimming your nails and scrubbing underneath them to get rid of the crud. Presenting yourself with filthy hands will make you look like a dirt merchant or, worse, a serial killer — and if you came to my office, I wouldn’t touch you. Clean, well-groomed hands are the sign of a man who truly cares about his appearance.
Bring Your Portfolio/Briefcase
If you’re in the creative field, you always want to bring your portfolio to the interview. Sure, the interviewer will probably look up everything they want to know about you online, but you should be prepared for whatever curve balls he or she might throw at you. If you don’t have a portfolio, choose to bring a briefcase — with at least two pens and a pad of paper — instead. A briefcase will make you look like you mean business, even if you’ve never used it a day in your life.
Do you have other tips on how to prepare for an interview? Let me know in the comments below.