Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Have you Committed one of these 10 Interview Fashion Crimes?

In an earlier blog post, I discussed the importance of non-verbal communication when forming a positive first impression in an interview. Although we can’t change other people’s perception of the world, we can increase our chance or being perceived positively. Keep in mind that a positive image is a result of careful planning, preparation and an honest assessment of your image.

Take this assessment to see what your fashion verdict would be:

1. What are you carrying? Don’t carry a backpack or fanny pack instead of a briefcase or portfolio. Women may still feel the need to carry a purse, but it should be small and conservative and should be tucked away under your chair during the interview.

2. “Transit gear” must be stowed away. Sunglasses on top of your head, headphones around your neck or in your ears, and cell phones not turned off or set to silent will all make negative impressions. Be sure to take care of all these details before entering the lobby.

3. Too much skin showing. Ladies, are your skirts too short, your tops too low cut? Men, do your pants rise up and show skin between your socks and pants, do your buttons gap? Try on your interview outfits and sit down in a chair in front of a mirror to see what your interviewer will see.

4. Overly bright or large-patterned clothing. Ties should be made of silk, no less than 3 inches wide with a conservative pattern. With the possible exception of creative fields like advertising or computer programming, it's best to stick with navy, black or gray with a small accent of color on your shirt, blouse, tie or a scarf.

5. Makeup. Avoid heavy makeup on women (or any makeup on a man).

6. Piercings. More than one set of earrings on women and facial piercings, tongue jewelry or visible tattoos can be a negative for many employers. Earrings on men should be avoided. In fact, men should avoid wearing any jewelry unless it is a wedding ring, class ring or metal watch.

7. Shoes and hosiery. Avoid fishnets, patterned, or colored hosiery, and bare legs (no matter how tan you are). Women should stick with neutral color hosiery that complements their suit. Never wear open-toed shoes to an interview. Men’s socks should match their shoes and should not show a gap of skin when seated.

8. Clothing and shoes in bad repair. Avoid rumpled or stained clothing. If interviewing late in the day, try to change to a fresh suit beforehand. Avoid scuffed or inappropriate footwear, including sneakers, stilettos, open-toed shoes and sandals.

9. What is your smell? Avoid after shaves, perfumes or colognes. Many people are allergic to certain scents. For a subtle fragrance, use good quality bath soap.

10. Remove any telltale signs that you’re wearing new clothes. Remove all tags, stickers, and extra buttons, remember to cut off the zigzag thread that keeps pockets and slits closed, and don’t forget to press out any creases from the clothes being folded in the store.

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