As a member of a Human Resources team, I am surprised by the attire worn by the young adults coming in for an interview. Schools used to provide tips on ‘dressing for success’ as part of the curriculum. Clearly, that course must have been cut, along with art and physical education.
It‘s not that we expect all applicants to come in wearing a three piece suit. However, turquoise hair, leggings and miniskirts have never been appropriate attire for the workplace and especially not an interview. I would suggest leaving the 5” stiletto heels at home as well, as few can walk in them comfortably. I’ve seen young ladies wearing miniskirts bend over to pick up a magazine to read, unknowingly revealing their nice white lacy panties! Ladies have worn white sheer blouses with pink and even a red bra underneath. I’ve seen it all!
The high-low tunics are quite popular these days. I’m a fan of them as well. If worn with slacks and heels, it can create a stylish and professional look. On the other hand, don’t wear these tunics without slacks or a skirt underneath. When high-low tunics are worn alone, the whole outfit becomes ‘x’ rated.
Some women get excited about ‘dressing up’ and think that whatever dressy outfit they wear will be appropriate for all dress up events. Wrong! There are different categories of ‘dressing up’ and it’s important that women learn the differences. Dressing up for the club is not the same as dressing up for work or business.
Another thing to keep in mind is whenever you go to an office to fill out an application or drop off paperwork, you need to dress appropriately. Don’t wear sweatpants or shorts. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that because you are only going to be there for a few minutes, there is no need to dress professional. The receptionist greeting you and accepting your application at the front desk is also part of the hiring process. Their feedback to the hiring manager about you is crucial to you securing an interview. Women need to take the time to dress appropriately by putting on a dress, slacks or skirt with a nice blouse or top.
Regardless of how well you perform in your interview, inappropriate attire can kill the deal before you start. You want to be remembered for your solid performance during the interview, not for the jaw dropping outfit you wore.
Coco Chanel, the famous fashion designer said that “If a woman is poorly dressed, you notice her dress. If a woman is impeccably dressed, you notice the woman.”
Here are a few safe, easy tips for women to remember when preparing for an interview:
- Wear slacks or a knee length skirt or dress. Do the ‘bend over’ test to make sure undergarments don’t show.
- Wearing darker shades will prevent undergarments from peaking through.
- If you’ve worn the outfit to a club or party, it is NOT business appropriate and should not be worn on an interview or to work.
- Purchase a few business appropriate outfits to keep available when needed.
- Hair should be a natural shade (blonde, brown, black, auburn, grey etc.)
- and well groomed.
- Women should wear shoes with a modest heel (3” or less); Flats can be worn as well.
- Avoid wearing fragrances, as many people have allergies.
Following the above tips will set the right tone for the interview and provide you with a fair chance of being considered for the opportunity. These tips can also be followed by those currently working in a professional environment. Even if your work environment is casual, you should still dress in a professional manner. Your dress conveys the attitude you share about your work. Be careful not to send the wrong message.