She left the room after about 15 minutes. My colleagues debated. How did they like her answers? Does she have potential? Will she be committed to the job? When they asked me if I thought she was the top pick, my quick answer shocked them: “Absolutely not.” I told them she lost my vote the minute she walked in the door. Why? Because her incredibly wrinkly blouse distracted me the entire interview with thoughts on why she didn’t bother making herself presentable for a role where she’s expected to meet with people and serve as the face of the office.
I’ve interviewed quite a lot of people, and it always amazes me which choices they make about what to wear. Here are some of the most memorable interview attire blunders I've witnessed that, hopefully, these candidates have learned from since.
1. The Flip-Flop
One candidate was wearing maybe a half size too big of a shoe, and when she was shown around the office, the back of the shoe continuously popped off her heel, making that slapping sound you hear with flip-flops. Keep it simple. Wear a shoe that fits, and is quiet!
2. The Sneak Peek
I’ve seen this in two ways. A woman will wear a shirt that is a bit too snug around the bust, resulting in puckered buttons and an unwanted sneak peek at some cleavage. The other wears a colored or dark bra under a light colored shirt. Always pick the proper undergarments and take a test run with a shirt or suit you haven’t worn in a while to be sure everything fits.
3. The Unintentional Clown
I had seen this person numerous times prior to the interview, which made her decision to wear makeup for the first time even more shocking. Her eyeliner was incredibly thick and her lipstick looked like it was put on with one of the jumbo crayons my three year old uses. If you don’t wear makeup everyday, an interview is probably not the time to experiment.
4. The One Man Band
I love bangle bracelets and will wear two or three at a time. They are pretty and trendy, but if you talk with your hands or even move a bit, you’ll be remembered more for what’s heard on your wrist than what comes out of your mouth.
5. The Fashionista
Loud, bright colors, or choosing your interview as the time to wear those leopard print shoes are not the best. While, yes, there are some industries that expect you to demonstrate the latest trends, the majority do not. Know your audience. Use the interview and your words as self-expression. You don’t want to be remembered for making me dizzy with your hot pink nails.
A version of this post previously appeared on Fairygodboss, which helps women get the inside scoop on pay, corporate culture, benefits, and work flexibility. Founded in 2015, Fairygodboss offers company ratings, job listings, discussion boards, and career advice.
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