The question of “what is appropriate to wear to an interview” is one asked by every type of job seeker (young and old) and it’s important to pay attention to detail.  Whether you’re interviewing at a CPA firm or an ad agency that wears jeans every day, it’s important to overdress for your main entrance. 

Let’s start at the top, shall we?


Women – If your hair is down, make sure it’s brushed, styled and obvious that you showered.  If the hair is up, avoid the “messy look” and make the hairspray your friend; take that extra 5 to impress your interviewer.

Men – Make sure you have a fresh haircut or be sure those longer locks are styled to perfection. 



Ladies & Gentlemen – All clothing should be fitted, ironed, tucked in (if the style calls for it) and of proper length.  Ladies, nothing too low-cut either; let’s keep it professional!

I’m not saying you have to throw on a suit, but make sure what you are wearing looks its best.  Taking time on personal appearance will show you take yourself seriously and you’re able to throw on a nice outfit when needed.  First impressions are everything, right?



If they are not in your ears and they are visible…take them out!  I know this can be argued as “If a company doesn’t accept my personal style, then I don’t want to work for them.”   Fair enough, but accept the fact that you just narrowed your options and lengthened your job search.  Self expression is very important, but a lot of companies want to know what you can bring to the table, not what they can offer you.  Just a warning!


Nail Polish

If you are going to chose to have your nails painted, make sure it’s a fresh coat (or at least looks like it) and nothing too loud; save the hot pink for your weekend celebrations.


It’s the little things and trust me, they matter!

Recruiters - what do you think?

Views: 188

Comment by Tim Spagnola on February 14, 2012 at 2:09pm

Glenna - we talked about this topic a bit last week as a featured question of the day, but you bring one to the conversation (that for obvious reasons) I never considered - Nail polish. You would think something like that would not really matter all that much, but your post made me think of a former boss that passed on a potential candidate to join my team due to multi-colored nail polish. This individual also had a thing for one with dirty nails too, but that is another topic.

Comment by Jennifer Olsen on February 14, 2012 at 6:06pm

These are really great suggestions. I generally recommend that applicants use their best possible reconnaissance efforts to find an internal source who can help guide them on what to wear. And no matter what the source says, dress a little nicer than is the company's "norm". 

One caution about using hairspray is to make sure that it is unscented and go light on the scented soaps, lotions and perfumes to avoid aggravating an allergy or sensitivity or simply annoying someone who doesn't care for the scent you selected.

I think if the applicant has a piercing that will be put back in once hired that it is only fair to "show it" during the interview so that the employer understands that the piercing will stay in after the hire.

Comment by Glenna Halligan on February 15, 2012 at 2:20pm

@Tim - Thank you for your comment and yes, your question of the day inspired me to expand and write this (I won't lie!).  It is crazy how every employer is different and what they notice/consider professional.  Multip-colored nail polish...who knew that would even be taken into account?

@Jennifer - Thank you for your comment and good call, I didn't even think about mentioning the "scent" factor of the many products us women can sport in a day.  Also true on the piercing, either wear it or mention it during the interview as a "heads up" to see if it will be a future issue!

Comment by Tim Spagnola on February 16, 2012 at 9:22am

The scent - almost funny, but very true. Noth good and bad I can see where this one can hurt a candidate.


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