7 Things To Never Wear For Job Interviews
I get it. Power to the people. You have every right to express yourself in whichever way you want. Furthermore, you have a wicked fashion sense that you feel obligated to teach others about. The fashion police would present you with a badge of honor soon, and the fashion statement you make will leave others knowing that you pack a punch in at least 1 area.
There are some types of jobs that would help you score points by dressing in an unorthodox manner. But for the rest, which is the majority, it is better to be safe than sorry.
It might be wrong employment practice to judge a job candidate by how she dresses, or ask inappropriate questions. But if you are one of two equally qualified candidates, an employer would probable offer the job to the other one who has a more mature dress sense which presents a less edgy personality.
You can argue all you want. But that is more fact than fiction. It’s more pragmatic to secure the job first, feel out the corporate culture in the office, then slowly push the envelope on what you can get away with.
So other than what not to talk about, what should you avoid wearing to an interview?
1) Printed shirts
This encompasses everything from leopard prints, Hawaiian florals, printed words, etc.
The issue is that you might be perceived as having strong opinions on certain types of taboo topics. An animal lover could encounter a jaw-dropping moment upon seeing a leopard print, a serious interviewer might stereotype you as being too laid back in a Hawaiian shirt, and of course the message on a printed shirt can often be misinterpreted by just about anyone who has a mind of his own.
Anyway, why would you consider any of these clothing when the conventional business wear is already the common practice.
2) Revealing dresses
Sometimes we get so comfortable with dresses that we forget how some of them can make others feel uneasy.
Surely you must have met at least one of those guys who behave awkwardly when you wear a low-cut dress. And this is not limited to men. Some people are just uncomfortable seeing others in short skirts and cleavage revealing tops.
Instead of insisting it is the others who need to raise their self-esteem and not feel threatened by a sexy woman who is comfortable in her own skin, in terms of an interview, it is better to accept that it would be better for everyone if you just dress up in a more conservative manner.
Employers, especially senior managers can form the perception that you have a lack of judgment for turning up to an interview dressed like you are on the way to the club.
You don’t need to dress like grandma. Just stay away from provocative clothing.
3) Anything but classic work shoes
You might ask what are classic work shoes? They refer to everything but those that leave in any doubt that they are appropriate. Get it?
Stay away from any footwear that does not cover up your toes. You might have a cute manicure which others will envy. But this is not the time to show them off. It’s a losing situation. If you have no nail art on your toes, people might not like the look of your feet. If you have a sexy red on, it could be too much to handle for some.
Be safe and keep your toes in.
Also stay away from high heels, stilettos, sneakers and sports shoes. Go with proper working shoes that cover up your toes.
In some types of industries, wearing jeans is the norm not just to interviews, but at the workplace as well. Very often, these are the younger companies started by entrepreneurs who have a different idea of how a workplace should be. In these cases, it would be fine to wear jeans.
But would you take a risk when you are unsure of what is the appropriate dress code?
Even when a business prefers it’s staff to wear jeans to work, you will seldom be penalized for putting on formal wear to an interview. It’s a gesture of respect. A sign that you actually care about getting the job.
However, you would be a fool to enter an interview room in jeans and casual wear when you are going for a position in a “serious” organization.
It is up to discussion what makes a “serious” organization. But it wouldn’t be wrong to view most corporate and B2B companies as such. For example, you cannot possibly think it’s 100% fine to vie for a position at an accountancy multinational without leaving a weird impression.
5) Unpressed clothing and dresses
Wrinkled shirts are a big turn off not only on a first date. It is a very noticeable flaw at interviews. Here are the interviews trying to find reasons to hire you. Yet you give them every reason to expand the list of reasons not to.
If anything, the only clothing you should be wearing are those that are fresh from the laundry, and ironed out nicely. You are going to feel good wearing them anyway, supercharging your confidence.
Can you imagine wearing a shirt that was supposed to be white but is no longer so? You think people might not notice it? Wrong.
Under the constant glare of interviewers assessing you in every way, you probably won’t even be able to hide away a broken nail.
You might have those extra-sized earrings that need to get out of the drawer, or the sparkling necklace you forget to put on at the last ballroom event. You will have to leave them at home.
Fancy accessories that call for attention does not communicate desirable qualities unless you are a celebrity. These include nose rings, tongue piercings and such.
An observer will interpret these things as you being an attention seeker. These can not only affect your motivations at work, it could also affect the corporate culture which the managers want to upkeep.
Sometimes, too much makeup can also create this negative impression.
7) A long face
You could be feeling stressed out from money problems at home. You might have been bullied by your previous employer. Or you could be feeling sorry for yourself for missing your child’s ballet session by arriving for this interview.
No matter what your situation is, pulling a long face is a definitely no. Interviewers don’t care about what you have gone through in your life or in the week. You are not an employee yet. So there is no need to practice sensitive empathy on you.
Whatever is affecting you, keep that long face at home. It will do you absolutely no favors when you are competing with other candidates for a new job.