Whether you’re just out of school or decades deep into your professional life, you will likely go on a job interview at some point in your life. Coaches and mentors will help prepare you for the questions the interviewer will ask, how to respond to them, questions that you yourself should have, and the better ones will also clue you in to the importance of your image and personal presentation. This article’s aim is to expand on that with a couple of concrete tips for presenting oneself well at an interview.
TOP FIVE TIPS FOR LOOKING INTERVIEW-APPROPRIATE
- Image starts before you put your clothes on. This should be common sense, but it bears being written down: does your hair look neat? Do your fingernails look bitten? Have you showered, brushed your teeth, and applied deodorant? Did you get a good night’s sleep?
Get your haircut about a week before the interview so it looks neat but natural (the same applies for your wedding day). If you have a nail-biting habit, most drug stores sell a polish-like product that tastes like a combination of rubbing alcohol, paprika, and death; use this to help yourself stop. A good night’s sleep will keep you alert (as will a decent meal beforehand), which is always necessary in an interview situation. If you don’t understand the importance of showering, brushing your teeth, and applying deodorant, well, helping you is clearly beyond the scope of this article. Keep your cologne to a four-spritz maximum.
- Your clothes should reflect the dress code of the position for which you’re applying. Graphic designers may dress a bit more casually and creatively, whereas most others need to fall in line from a sartorial point of view. This means you should be wearing a suit, and that suit should be either navy blue or charcoal grey. A white or light blue shirt is appropriate with a red, blue, or yellow tie. Black or dark brown shoes with a matching belt will finish things off in a professionally appropriate way.
- Keep your accessories quiet. No loud pocket squares, no funky socks. If you’re a guy who’s into jewelry, keep it to a sleek, simple watch with a leather or steel band, a wedding band (if applicable), and a class ring if you’re into that sort of thing.
- Make sure your clothes are in good repair. Yes, we’re a custom shop and always recommend going that route. If that’s not an option, have your clothes tailored to fit correctly and make sure that they’re laundered and pressed freshly. While an interviewer might not notice that you picked your suit up from the dry cleaners only the day before, she will notice if it looks rumpled, fits poorly, or smells unpleasant.
- There’s no substitute for competence. Looking the part is great, but if you’re unqualified and/or unprepared, you will have gotten dressed up for nothing at all.