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Professional Attire

Your appearance is one of the most important factors in the interview. Recruiters form a first impression within the first 30 seconds, and your appearance is important in forming a positive first impression.

Why all the fuss about appearance? Isn't the most important criterion your ability to do the job? Yes, say interviewers, but if your appearance is unkempt or inappropriate, it may speak so loudly that the interviewer’s ability to listen to your abilities and credentials suffers. "Your goal should be to stand out, not stick out," says one interviewer.

What are some of the pet peeves of interviewers?

  • Ponytails, particularly on men
  • Sagging ankle socks
  • Scuffed, down-at-the-heel shoes
  • Polyester ties and shirts on candidates for professional positions
  • Heaps of jewelry that bangs, clangs and glitters
  • Women who dress provocatively; it's distracting for interviewers of both sexes
  • Untrimmed beards and moustaches
  • Too much perfume, cologne or makeup

A traditional business suit is standard attire for interviewing. A suit is generally comprised of a set containing matching slacks and jacket (matching skirt-knee and jacket is acceptable for women).

Professional Attire for Women

  • A dark conservative business suit with a shirt or blouse that goes well with the suit. The fabric should complement the suit. Cotton, silk or rayon generally are acceptable for executive or professional positions.
  • While pants suits have become increasingly more acceptable, the safest interview attire is a skirt suit. The ideal length of a skirt is no more than two inches above or below the knee.
  • Your blouse should be a solid or subtle print with a conservative neckline.
  • Keep jewelry to a minimum. No large earrings, no dangling bracelets and limit the number of rings.
  • Make-up should be applied lightly. Stay away from trendy colors and glitter.
  • Low heels are a must. Avoid thick, clunky shoes. Make sure you can walk in them comfortably.
  • Be sure to conceal tattoos.
  • Fingernails should be short, and if you wear nail polish, choose neutral colors.

Professional Attire for Men

  • A two-piece suit will suffice in most instances. A classic cut suit in navy, gray or black is acceptable.
  • Wear natural fabrics, like wool and cotton.
  • Choose a dress shirt in a subtle color. Be sure it is well pressed. Your tie should not be a distracting color or pattern.
  • Wear an undershirt! Most dress shirts look better over a cotton undershirt.
  • Your socks should be in extremely good condition. People notice! Wear dark color socks and be sure they keep your skin covered.
  • It is advisable to remove any earrings for your interview. Be sure to conceal tattoos!