Job Interview Etiquette tips for dressing with WSJ reader tips and a heavy hand from Miss Mentor.
1. Wear well made shoes, spend a bit more than you think you can afford. Women: closed toe and heel for women. Men: no tassels.
2. Suits: A fine suit will cost a little more. Do have it tailored. Gentlemen, choose a darker color though a tan suit can be appropriate. Opt for a blue shirt (not white) if tan suit is clearly appropriate. Ladies, avoid pastels and crimson. Choose a skirt suit over a pantsuit as a pantsuit inspires similar objections as men’s bow ties.
3. Make-up: no fake tans on either men or women. I stopped an interview once with a fellow who’s fake tan icked me out – his concern for appearing to be leisure class ultimately tipped him right out of contention. We have a serious work environment. The mentality of Fake Tanners is unacceptable. Being overly shiny: fake tan, high gloss lipstick, high polish fingernails, can send the message that you care about your appearance to the point of obsession. Look good, but let it be natural. Take out all visible piercings other than one in each ear lobe. Conceal obvious tattoos until you have the green light.
4. General: avoid fashion statements (unless interviewing with a fashion house in the design department – if in the Finance department, rules still apply), TURN OFF YOUR PHONE, discard your gum/mint/candy, roll your shoulders back and sit with pride. If you don’t know how to sit straight, go take a few Pilates classes and figure it out.
5. Your posture can seal your fate: stand and sit relaxed, strong, proud, but not boastful.
Last note: an ascot is not a tie. Ascots are much more informal than ties. Ascots are for hunting, lounging and other non-work activities. Bow ties are likewise not appropriate for interviews though can be appropriate in the office environment.
A personal note as an employer, interesting tattoos don’t bother me a bit, unless you are in certain forms of sales, but a fake tan sends me around the bend. There is nothing artful about a fake tan. It shows a lack of creativity on your part. If I want homogeneous employees, I’ll clone them myself. Same goes for “common” tattoos: butterfly or shamrock on the ankle, etc. The lame tattoos make it blindingly obvious that you have no creativity and are ultimately just as lame and insecure as the fake tan aficianados.
If you have a cool tattoo, keep it and tell me the story. Otherwise, get that thing zapped off before I see it.