By: AJE Recruiting Specialist
As much as we may not like it, it is hard to change a first impression. This philosophy can apply to many situations, especially during your first interview with a prospective employer. We've all had them - wardrobe malfunctions. Although uncomfortable in most situations, during a job interview the consequences can be devastating - you're not hired. Sometimes letting your social image and professional image become intertwined can cost you a potential job. Remembering, and following, a few simple guidelines will help, and may even increase your chances of getting the position that you've been after.
The primary rule to remember: you and a hiring manager may not hold the same opinion on what is fashionable, professional, or even appropriate. Disregard the latest trends and styles, and opt for more conservative and conventional attire. Keep in mind, trends only last for a season, but a classical interview suit will display your awareness of elegance and refinement year after year, even through the most scrutinizing interviews.
Tailoring your apparel to your interviewer's standards of professionalism will certainly increase your chances of making a good first impression. A suit that can be used over and over again is also a better financial investment than one that becomes obsolete after the current season. Plan ahead as well. Having a versatile and functional interview suit in your closet will give you one less thing to worry about when the time comes.
Completely avoid sneakers or flip-flops, visible underwear such as bra straps, shorts, jeans, skirts that are too short, low-rise, or unusually tight pants, and blouses that are either low-cut, or too short. Avoid excessive use of cologne or perfume regardless of how "good" you'd like to smell. Remember that scent is one of the strongest senses. Be aware of the company's policies on tattoos and piercings as well; if neither is looked upon favorably, make it a point to cover up or take out your rings.
Professional and proper dress, in conjunction with a good resume, solid experience, and encouraging references, may put you in the position that you are after, but what happens next? Inquire about the dress code and policies on tattoos or piercings before you start your new job. Making a bad impression on your first day may be the only thing worse than making a bad impression during your interview.
Education, experience, referrals, and a plethora of other factors go into the employer's final decision to either hire you, or keep looking. Why tamper with an already fragile process by making a negative first impression with something as simple as your clothing? Keep professionalism first and always dress for the interviewer, not for yourself, and you will have one less thing to worry about in the already-tense and competitive interview process.
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