After landing that sought-after job interview, most women will automatically ask themselves,“Okay, now what should I wear?” While advice abounds from career counselors and human resources experts on the proper dress code for someone interviewing for a job, the truth is that deciding on the right interview attire can sometimes be tricky. Finding the balance between professionalism, personality, and culture (personal and corporate) can be challenging – especially for women of more exotic tastes.
The following article provides both a general outline of interview attire do’s and don’ts for women, as well as a few additional points of consideration for the woman deciding what she should wear when meeting with a prospective employer.
Attire Don’ts: What Women Should Not to Wear on a Job Interview
Though women tend to have more leeway than men in what is considered appropriate interview attire, that freedom leaves her more open to several, detrimental attire faux pas. Here are a few areas that women should avoid. The common theme among all of them is that they paint the female interviewee as unprofessional, not respectable, and not serious about the position she is applying for.
- Low-cut or revealing clothes: This includes a whole range of garments such as, low-cut tops, sheer or see-through tops and skirts, as well as skirts and dresses that do not approach the knee.
- Casual, street clothes: Shorts, jeans, sweats, t-shirts, tennis shoes, and sneakers should all be avoided when meeting with a prospective employer.
- Unclean or unkempt appearance: Women must make sure that their hair is clean and brushed, that clothes are clean and mended where needed, and that nail polish is fresh looking and neat.
- Unpleasant or strong smelling deodorants, soaps, perfume: The interviewer will have a hard time focusing on the job candidate if the smell coming off of her is overpowering.
- A frown, sad, or angry face: No make-up in the world can cover a sour face, and it can leave the interviewer with a negative impression.
Attire Do’s: What Women Should Wear on a Job Interview
So what should a woman wear to that job interview? Here are a few areas to consider:
- Respectable clothing: This means that clothes are clean, presentable, and a bit on the dressy side. Florals and prints are OK, as well as some bright colors (outside of blue, black, and brown) as long as they enhance a woman’s appearance without distracting from it. The general rule is that the woman should wear the clothes, not be over taken by them. Shoes can be comfortable (i.e. low-healed), but they should still be dressy.
- A modest amount of make-up and jewelry: Make-up and jewelry is meant to enhance a woman’s appearance. Use them. It will leave a more favorable impression on the interviewer.
- Pleasant scents: Like the jewelry and make-up, a pleasant scent sends a positive, subliminal message to the interviewer.
- A smile: This is the cheapest and in some ways the most powerful thing a woman can “wear” on an interview. Again, it sends a positive message to the interviewer and can positively effect the energy and atmosphere of the interview.
Some Additional Considerations
Though a woman should make every effort to give off a professional appearance when on an interview, she at the same time should not go overboard with the professionalism and try to be something she is not. Doing so may negatively effect how she performs on the interview and give the interviewer an inaccurate picture of who she is. As mentioned above, there is some leeway when it comes colors, patterns, and jewelry. Moreover, the woman should consider by whom she is being interviewed. Some companies have a more relaxed or accepting corporate culture, while others do not.
In short, it pays for a female job applicant to do a little research before-hand and to put some thought into what she will wear to her job interview so that the impression she gives is the most accurate and she puts herself in the best position to get the job.