When you show up for an interview in wrinkled pants and a shirt with a stain on it, the hiring manager immediately forms an opinion of you. You won’t get the chance to discuss your three different degrees and revolutionary work processes. The recruiter won’t be able to get past that stain...on your front pocket....it looks like ketchup maybe..Here are my absolutes for your first and last impression at your interview.

  1. Dress to fit the culture you will be in- but do so a tad dressier than what you would wear everyday at the particular place of employment. If it’s a hip start up ecommerce company, then by all means, a stiff black suit and tie should not be your choice. However, neither is that the green light for your favorite pair of blues jeans with holes in the knees and a T-shirt with a marijuana leaf on the front.
  2. What you wear sets the tone- for how you and others perceive you. I personally don’t want to be perceived as a bimbo, so I never choose to wear clothes that are extra revealing. When I am nervous about an interview or presentation, I know that’s the time to wear my best and most flattering clothes. I feel more confident and I project that confidence in my interview or sales presentation. It took some time for me to realize why: People who are more elegant are perceived as having more social status and more money. Whether you like it or not, when you dress up you feel more confident and that makes people respect you more.
  3. Cleanliness is next to Godliness- an old adage that holds a lot of weight. If you smoke, do not smoke in the car right before you walk into the interview and smell like an ash tray. Make sure your nails and teeth are neat and pristine. If you wear makeup, jewelry, piercings, or have tattoos, make sure they are in moderation or covered up. While those are all ways to express your individuality, you may not get the chance to express it at that particular employer if you don’t get past the interview.

Remember: People judge you by the way you look, so next time you have an important meeting, take an extra effort in looking good. It matters more than you think.

Article written by a NOARK Human Resource professional and printed in the NWA Media.