Does Anyone Dress Up for a Job Interview Anymore?

I’ve noticed an unpleasant trend lately. Perhaps it’s just in my area, but I find it quite upsetting. I’ve observed several people arrive for job interviews with my company wearing T-shirts and jeans. Really? A job interview is where a person makes the first and possibly the only impression on the interviewer.
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Even if you are applying for the most menial job imaginable, it’s a good idea to put your best foot forward. I learned in high school what was considered proper interview etiquette back in the eighties. I think it’s still relevant advice today. I have used this knowledge to obtain every job I’ve ever had.

Personal grooming is of the utmost importance. You don’t have to paint your nails, but they should be clean. Your hair doesn’t need to be elaborately styled, but it should be clean and neat. Your body should be clean. Body odor is an instant turn-off. Your clothing should be clean, free of tears or wrinkles, conservative and professional. You don’t have to wear a formal suit, but jeans and T-shirts are not professional.

I admit that I haven’t been on a job interview in many years because I’ve worked for the same company for the past nine years. Believe it or not, I remember exactly what I wore when I interviewed with my company. I had a navy blue pant suit that I bought at Sears. It wasn’t expensive or comfortable. It was polyester. However, it was clean, in good condition, wrinkle-free, and conservative. It showed no more of me than was appropriate.

Another thing they taught me in high school is the importance of body language. Sitting up straight, making eye contact, and offering a firm handshake go a long way toward a good first impression. If someone will not meet my gaze when I ask him or her a question, I perceive that person as being untrustworthy or uninterested. The person conducting the interview should have the applicant’s undivided attention.

Punctuality carries a great deal of weight in my office. You wouldn’t believe the number of applicants who arrive late for their interviews. Tardiness can be excused if there was an unavoidable delay such as an accident causing a traffic jam or a natural disaster, but simply running late isn’t a good enough reason.

Interviews are nerve-wracking for most of us. Making certain we present ourselves in our very best light can make the difference between being hired or being passed over. I’m afraid I can’t give you the answers to those scary interview questions about your greatest strengths and weaknesses. You are on your own with those.

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2 comments

  1. I’ve had people show up in flip flops, shorts and jeans for jobs that require a four year degree. You offer great advice in your post.

    • Thank you! We had a man show up for his interview in a filthy white sweatshirt and grimy jeans. He was nice enough, but he smelled horrible. If he had been clean and presentable for his interview, the boss might have hired him.

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