Dress to Impress

Is there a dress code for interviews? I thought dress codes only applied to boarding or private schools? Heard of the phrase “dress to impress”? Rule of thumb, business attire (there are always those exception but in our case not so much).

Allow me to share a story that I was told a little while ago*. There was this women who lived in New York, she had a few years of leadership experience, she has been a nurse for 13 years. This women, let’s call her Ann, she had an interview set up for a nursing director position, at a local hospital. She got ready, had a portfolio in hand, she was ready. She got to the hospital, checked in and she was lead to the conference room. Once she arrived, she was sent home immediately and even though she had the qualifications, she wasn’t even interviewed.

Why? Her choice of attire, jeans, t-shirt, and sneakers. You would think she knew better, she’s been a nurse for years. The organization was surprised that Ann came for an interview in jeans! The general thought was that Ann didn’t take this interview and job seriously. So why would they want someone like that working at their organization? You would think this subject would be straightforward, you would be surprised.

First impressions can break or make your interview. Gentlemen, let’s go over a few basics. Don’t worry you don’t have to spend lots of money, after all fresh out of school. Especially with no incoming funding from a job. Men can make business formal work with just a few pieces of clothing. A well fitting blazer or a sports coat with tie. A nice dressy sweater with a tucked in button down shirt. You could layer it with a cardigan to add a classy twist. If you are not sure if you are walking into more of a casual organization, a khaki or light colored blazer can do wonders. You want to look the part, you want to make a statement, but you don’t want to scare them away. Save the bizarre and wild colors for your scrubs;-).

Ladies, there are two types of style, business casual and business professional. Business casual can include a nice sweater top with a skirt or slacks. Business professional is where you bring out your suit, yes the one in the back of the closet. That stiff and scratchy one. You can pair it with a nice buttoned down or collared shirt. Then comes the fun part, the accessories, leave your 10 inch gold hoop earrings at home. Just remember you want the attention on you and not your accessories.

Additional life saving tips:

  • Absolutely NO form fitting outfits- girlfriend, save them for Abercrombie and Fitch.
  • Cotton capris are too casual.
  • Necklaces that are too large.
  • Over powering perfume or cologne.

I cannot stress enough- grooming is important and personal hygiene. Do a head to toe run over. Avoid sneakers, flip flops. I am pro dressy socks, tights, but please avoid bulky sport socks. Look at your hands, make sire they are clean an presentable. Nails need to be clipped, trimmed and ladies I know we love our nails. I need my manicures, but if we can’t tell the difference between your nails and talons, you may want to rethink your nails for the interview. Next let’s look at pericings, ah hem, I’m talking about those you can see, that cannot be covered with clothing. You want to wear earrings and not weapons of war. This is all very basic, but you would be surprised at what “professionals” have chosen to wear.

*Story varies in accuracy- but the premise is a true story.

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