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What Not to Wear…To an Interview

Fanny packs, bare feet, headphones, too-short skirts, tongue jewelry, fishnets, stained clothing, t-shirts with offensive phrases…seems farfetched, but these are all horribly inappropriate items that job seekers have worn to interviews.

Regardless of the job you are seeking – office job, executive position, warehouse supervisor, assembly line worker or temporary assignment through a staffing firm – you are going to have to sit down and meet the hiring manager.

As you are putting together your interview outfit, here are some statistics to keep in mind:

  • 33% of hiring managers/bosses claimed that they knew within the first 90 seconds of an interview whether they would hire you.
  • Only 7% of this initial impression comes from what you say; 55% comes from the way you dress, act and walk through the door.
  • 65% of bosses said that clothes could be the deciding factor between two similar candidates.

So put some thought into what you are planning to wear.

To Suit or Not to Suit…That is the Question
You can never go wrong with a suit. Suits have come a long way from the days of Dynasty and LA Law. They are not frumpy with gargantuan shoulder pads anymore. They are sleek and streamlined and can be broken apart; the jacket and skirt/pants can be worn separately – after you get the job!

With a suit, you are dressing in a way that shows you are promotable – that you intend to grow, learn and achieve with this potential employer.

What Not to Wear
Besides the obvious list of “no-no’s” above, here are some (not so obvious) tips for what not to wear to an interview:

  • Clothes that do not fit. Channel your inner Goldilocks….not too tight, not too loose.
  • Too much jewelry. You will distract.
  • Hat. You are not attending a baseball game or the Kentucky Derby. Leave your hats at home.
  • Denim. Even if you are applying to work in a warehouse and would feel ridiculous in a suit, a nice pair of khakis and a button-down shirt is a better choice.
  • Inappropriate shoes. Flip flops, scuffed shoes, mismatched shoes, stilettos, etc. are not appropriate.

How you appear in that interview can literally mean the difference between success and failure. It may feel unfair – that you can be instantly judged on your appearance – however, it is a fact of life. First meetings are so very important. If you dress in a way that distracts the interviewer, he/she will miss everything about you that would make you the perfect person to hire. So, dress in a way that forces the interviewer to only focus on your skills, capabilities and achievements – not your mismatched shoes.

No money? No Worries.
Your interview outfit does not need to cost a lot of money. Scrutinize your entire wardrobe. Take everything that fits and analyze it. You will be surprised what you have that can be mixed and matched. Work with what you have. You will be more comfortable, and you will probably only need to purchase an accessory or one specific piece of clothing (say the shirt/blouse or jacket). Focus on separates, and remember discount chains all sell quality clothing at rock-bottom pricing.

That this being said, we understand that is extremely hard to take a concept as visual as wardrobe and expect you to read about it. If you would like to see some tips on how to dress for an interview, check out SNELLING’S PINTEREST BOARD – Interview tips. Here you can see great interview outfits for men and woman, learn what not to wear to an interview, and how to dress for interview success.

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