Be Known for Your Mind Not Your Chili Pepper Tie

I have seen some wild interview clothing choices in my 20 years of career advising, and I think (probably haven’t though) I’ve just about seen it all.  Anything from short skirts during the Melrose Place and Heather Locklear years to Mickey Mouse ties.  I have seen it.  And that doesn’t even take into account piercing and tattoo issues.  One thing remains constant, at the end of the day the recruiter remembers those individuals for their clothing choices, not their minds. 

Wearing clothing to be noticed does not work in a positive way in an interview setting. Of course, there are a few exceptions to this rule but the percentage is very small.  The fact is that you might get my attention, but it probably will not be the response you want.   You will be known at the end of day as the person with the short skirt or the guy with the wild tie.  Nothing you say in an interview will be remembered. 

What do you think is the purpose of wearing a professional and usually considered conservative suit to an interview?  It’s a sign of respect.  It’s a visual way of telling the interviewer that you appreciate their time and that you can be trusted to look professional with this company’s clients. 

Here are a few tips when considering what to wear for an interview:

  1. Realize the difference between trend and style. 
  2. If you want a serious career, then wear a serious suit. 
  3. You are not interviewing to get a date.  You aren’t right? 
  4. Never ask a friend how you look for an interview.  Ladies, if your roommate tells you that you look cute, you turn right around and go change! 
  5. Go to a professional and ask advice.    
  6. Get a tailor.  The hem of your pants, suit jacket, skirt, etc. is very important.  And yes, fabric matters.

When you walk in an interview room, the interviewer should look at you and picture you in front of the company’s clients.  This evaluation should take a few seconds and then the rest of the interview is when you WOW the interviewer with what you can DO for the company. 

The internal dialogue of an interviewer when you walk into the room should be “This person looks professional enough to sit at a conference table with my clients.  Now let’s get to the interview.”  At this point, your dress should be ignored and forgotten.  Your ability to do the job and be successful in a progressive career with this company is what the interviewer should be talking about at the end of the day.

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