Career Advice: Dork or Diva? What NOT to Wear to Your Next Job Interview

June 9, 2005
You’re targeting the right job, so make sure you’ve got the right look.
This is it — the big day. You’ve got the interview you’ve worked so hard to get. You’ve done all of your homework on the company. You’ve practiced answering those all important questions. You’re ready to go.But are you? Have you covered all of the bases? More importantly, do you look the part?First, what about your personal grooming habits? I'm sure your mother and teachers told you that neatness counts, but in the job hunt it really does. Grooming — whether or not you’ve got a clean body, and well-kept hair and fingernails — is more than enough to sway a job for or against you.You also need to plan an appropriate wardrobe and accessorize suitably. Carry a briefcase, folder, attaché or whatever you use to hold your important papers. Spend a little extra for a nice one, or borrow a friend’s. Scratch the backpack, fanny pack or any other unprofessional gear carriers. They don’t fit the bill.Eliminate distracting fashion statements such as overlong, ornate fingernails and exotic hairdos. Tone down the perfume or cologne. Use subtle, conservative makeup — save the outlandish stuff for the celebration after you’re hired.And need I remind you to remove all body piercings and cover visible tattoos?Now, for your main attire. If you are wearing a new suit, try it out beforehand. Make sure it fits and that you’re comfortable. If you’re uncomfortable, or just look it, then those around you will sense it and feel uncomfortable, too. Oh, and don’t forget to remove the tags.Find a suit that fits the company you’re interviewing with. Do your homework to see just how formal you should be in your interview.Need some suit suggestions? Visit the Quintessential Careers website to view some suits for success for men (, and for women ( what’s on your feet is important. Some people say they can tell a person by the quality of their shoes. Wear good shoes, and keep them clean and shined. Don’t let that be the one detail that drags your entire appearance down.Dressing appropriately is not easy. If it helps, think about what you think when you see someone dressed inappropriately for an important event or meeting. That's what you want to avoid for a job interview. You want the interviewer to concentrate on you and what you have to say, not on what you are wearing or what you look like.So, when you go prime time for the big job interview, don't be a dork or a diva. Dress the part and present yourself as a professional who’s the right person for the job.About the AuthorJoAnn Hines "packages" people. She makes it easy for others to transform their careers in much the same way she did. Her "how to" workbooks, informative articles, and tutorials demonstrate the steps to take career and professional development to the next level. Hines believes in the power of her experience and advice. As a result, much of her advice is free or is offered for a nominal charge. To learn the ropes and "Package Yourself" for success, email her at [email protected].
About the Author

JoAnn Hines |’s Resident Career Expert