Forum: Adults / Work/Employment

What NOT To Wear On An Interview (karma: 3)
By MuffinHeadmember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Sun Mar 23, 2008 11:14 PM
Edited by MuffinHead (96143) on 2008-03-23 23:16:40 Bolding. :)
Edited by MuffinHead (96143) on 2008-03-23 23:32:16 Because I'm a silly-face.
Made sticky by TheMidlakeMuse (78507) on 2008-04-05 16:50:19 Great post!

Working at a mall, I have seen PLENTY of interesting outfits on potential co-workers. I've worked at three different companies within a mall; Urban Behavior, Skechers, and Perfumania-- all three with COMPLETELY different dress codes. And at all three I've seen people wearing things that are completely inappropriate for not only that specific company-- but for an interview in general.

I've seen plenty of posts on DDN asking what to wear to an interview-- and while every job is different there are a few rules that EVERY interviewee should follow when dressing for an interview.

1. Wear flip-flops! And try to steer clear of sneakers unless it's a very casual work enviroment. Working at a place like Skechers or Urban Behavior we were allowed to wear sneakers. Wearing a nice, clean pair of sneakers with a nice (not ripped) pair of jeans was perfectly appropriate for the job interview. But flip-flops are always a big no-no. I don't want to see your toesies when interviewing you to represent my work environment.

2. Underwear that is visible. Obviously you don't want to pull a Superman and wear your panties/boxers outside your pants. But in all seriousness-- boys, leave your boxers INSIDE your pants. And girls, save the g-string for the club. And please, be sure that your shirt covers your shoulders and doesn't show off that super-new, hot leopard print bra strap you got from Victoria's Secret. You look trashy, not hot.

3. Shorts/short skirts. Even when I worked at Urban Behavior, which is notorious for selling barely-legal short skirts... you don't want to wear a short skirt to an interview. Shorts, even "nice" shorts, are WAY too casual for just about any work environment. Keep them at home for when you go to the beach and cover up those legs.

4. Pants that are too low-rise or too tight. I do not want to see VPL on your interview. Nor do I want to be able to make out *all* the little, tiny bumps on your thighs because your pants are too tight. If you bend down and your bum-crack sticks out of your pants... generally that's a good way to realize that your pants are probably too low-cut. And if you have major muffin top going on, your pants are probably too tight. Wear clothes that fit, even if it means going up a size. Interviewers want you to look nice, and they aren't going to check to make sure you're wearing a one and not a three.

5. Shirts that don't fit properly. By this I mean-- I don't want major clevage in my face when I'm interviewing. Guys... I really don't want to see your impressive chest hair. And girls, keep the belly button rings a secret. No lie, while working at Perfumania my DM had a girl come in wearing a belly shirt with too-tight pants. He actually LAUGHED at her and said she could come in for another interview when she learned how to dress for one. That girl never came back. Avoid an embarassing situation-- dress a LITTLE conservative, unless you're interviewing at a strip club.

6. Chew gum! While this isn't exactly what you're wearing... it is on part of your body. It's unprofessional and rude. I don't want to see a hunk of gum in your mouth while I'm talking to anybody, especially the person I am interviewing.

7. Extreme piercings. I am all for piercings being allowed in the workplace to retain individuality-- but most places will not even allow a nose stud. On interviews I always take out my lip ring and my nose stud. Yes, it's annoying. But employers will thank you-- and you can always ask about the piercing policy that is at that specific workplace. Sometimes they allow clear retainers, or even a little stud. But don't risk it by wearing them anyway.

8. Tattoos. Same as the piercings, many employers will not allow visible tattoos. Cover them up, if possible. Wrist tattoos? Wear a thick watch or bracelet. Arms? Long sleeves are always appropriate. Legs? Wear pants. Feet? Wear socks and shoes! And again, always ask your employer about their tattoo policy-- maybe you don't have to cover them up at work!

9. For the ladies; don't wear too much makeup! Unless you're applying at MAC or Sephora-- bright blue eyeshadow is not appropriate for a job interview. Go with the neutrals. Some mascara and lip gloss is fine! But don't go barefaced either unless you normally do. Interviewers want you to look put together and a little bit of makeup goes a long way in making you look more awake and professional.

10. Go light or not at all with perfume. I work in a PERFUME STORE and I'm saying this. I want to be able to talk to you without being distracted by your scent. Besides, ever have a friend you dislike wear a specific perfume? Or an exboyfriend/girlfriend who wore a specific scent? Imagine an interviewer who has had a bad experience with someone wearing that same perfume. Subliminaly, they're going to think something is wrong with you because memories are strongly attatched to scent. If anything wear a little body spray or just deodorant is fine.

Make sure you dress appropriate for the specific place you are interviewing for. An outfit for a McDonalds interview will be totally different than an interview to work at a prestigious law firm and that will be totally different than interviewing for a clothing store. My rule is generally to dress a step nicer than you think you should dress for an interview. Use you're best judgement when going to an interview and make sure that you are comfortable and look nice! Interviewers can tell when someone is uncomfortable and you don't want your clothing contributing to the problem.

A couple staples to have in your wardrobe for basic interviews include:
1. Nice pair of black slacks/pants. Not too tight and not too loose. Not long enough that you'll step on the pants, but not too short than you can't wear heels without looking like you're wearing highwaters.
2. A white button down shirt. A classic. You can mix this up by wearing a camisole underneath it. Or by wearing a nice v-neck sweater over it. Or even just wear it alone!
3. A nice, comfortable pair of shoes. Usually a good pair of black shoes is a great choice for an interview. I enjoy wearing heels, so I have a couple different pairs of black heels. But when I sprained my ankle I invested in a nice pair of black flats that are extremely comfortable. Stay true to your style and be comfortable with your shoes.

Good luck on your interviews! And just remember to look comfortable and stay looking nice/appropriate!

21 Replies to What NOT To Wear On An Interview

re: What NOT To Wear On An Interview
By punkgirl59
On Sun Mar 23, 2008 11:21 PM
When I interviewed for my current job at a hospital, it was a group interview and there was a girl wearing a corset. She had massive boobs that were spilling out the top and a good 3 inches of her stomach was showing, with a belly button piercing hanging out and a big rose tattoo covering most of her back and right shoulder.

She was wearing nice conservative pants and shoes, so I don't really know what went wrong with the top. I felt like I was interviewing at a strip club. And she was dumb as a brick.

So...don't wear corsets.


Long live punk rocK
re: What NOT To Wear On An Interview
By PinUpGirlmember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Mon Mar 24, 2008 09:04 AM
We had a girl come in to BBW in a tank top and baggy jeans. A good 4 inches of skin was showing BELOW her belly button. Her hair was unkempt and she just generally looked like a mess. My manager still allowed her to interview, but she wasn't hired.

Speaking of...make sure your hair looks good. I have curly hair with layers. It's a pain in the butt to make it look good. However, I'd make an effort for an interview. If I have the time, I'll blow it out and straighten it. If not, I'll just let it dry naturally and hold the shorter layers back with a small headband. Unkempt hair sends a really bad message, like you can't be bothered to even brush it before you go out.
re: What NOT To Wear On An Interview
By angieballerinamember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Mon Mar 24, 2008 04:22 PM
Edited by angieballerina (177970) on 2008-03-24 16:23:22 typo
I had a woman come in to the middle school where I teach who was dressed so badly, I almost wanted to look around for the hidden camera as we conducted this interview. That had to be a joke! :P She interviewing for an opening as a teacher's aid to work with kids with special needs (my classroom). She was wearing this lime green jacket and mini skirt combo, nude color fishnet stockings, and 3-inch heels. I am not kidding! The thing is, she actually had some experience in another school district, and answered some of the questions surprisingly well, but with that outfit, she was dead in the water.
re: What NOT To Wear On An Interview
By dancingtilldeath
On Mon Mar 31, 2008 09:03 PM
I work at Sears and during the summer we hire many high school students. I understand it's summer, but PLEASE do you have to wear you're bathing suit to your job interview?? There were girls who came in with mini skirts, tiny tank tops and bathing suits that you could see right through their shirts. They also had flip flops on. I have always been told to dress for the job you want someday, not necessarily the one that you're interviewing for.
re: What NOT To Wear On An Interview
By rocker_ballerinamember has saluted, click to view salute photos
On Fri Apr 04, 2008 02:03 AM
I've always been told, whether you are applying for a job as a dishwasher or a CEO, wear a suit. I've always followed this advice and it has never gone wrong =)
re: What NOT To Wear On An Interview
By rincedragonflymember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Fri Apr 04, 2008 02:11 PM
^I love wearing suits. I've actually never HAD to interview for a job...because I get most of my 'jobs' through connections with my workplace. But I think wearing a suit shows that you really care about your appearance, and you are serious. I am wearing dress pants, dress shirt, and heels today, and that's just for a MEETING for prospective student teachers. Not even an interview yet. :)
re: What NOT To Wear On An Interview
By back2dance
On Fri Apr 04, 2008 06:50 PM
It's not AS related...but don't smoke or drink right before you go to an interview. Don't care if it calms you down!

I've been around interviewers who throw the person's application out if they smell smoke/alcohol in their breath. Right after they leave the room. One woman, who sounded and smelled like a heavy chain smoker, came in to apply for a position at my dentist's office. There are some OBVIOUS jobs that you shouldn't even try to do that for.
re: What NOT To Wear On An Interview (karma: 2)
By rallyhopbackPremium member
On Fri Apr 04, 2008 07:18 PM
My favorite interview attire was a man in his late 40's wearing a royal-blue velvet jacket. He had on slacks, a shirt and tie - he might've had a chance if he had left the jacket in the car. Or if he had told us why he was wearing such a ridiculous jacket to an interview.

I had a recruiter tell me about sending a young woman to an interview. The recruiter told the gal to "dress up" for the interview. Later when she followed up with the HR person at the company she was told that the girl had shown up in a strapless prom dress.
I had a friend in her early 20's who I got an interview for once. She knew many people at the company already, so she must've felt she didn't need to dress special. She wore a bathing suit and over it was this tie-dyed, bib-style shorts thing that tied in the back. When she stopped by my office, I asked, "When is your interview?" She said, "Oh I just got out." My draw dropped and I asked, "Is that what you wore?" She had.
No, she didn't get the job.

My mother told me to always dress for an interview as if the CEO were going to invite you to a nice lunch. Every job I've ever really wanted, got offered to me, so it has worked for me.
re: What NOT To Wear On An Interview
By KangarooPawmember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Wed Apr 23, 2008 11:26 PM
Wanna know something funny?

At Abercrombie & Fitch, they WANT you to wear flip flops. I used to work there. My ex also worked there at the time, and had said that if I wanted to get the job, to dress in all Abercrombie- including the flip flops. I did, and it worked.

I did see a girl come in for an interview in a suit- and at Abercrombie, they conduct group interviews. She was the only one wearing a suit, and the other two interviewees were dressed in all Abercrombie.

I wasn't surprised to come to work at 6am Sunday, and at 8am see the other two come in for orientation, but not the suit girl.
re: What NOT To Wear On An Interview
By califeisgirl
On Thu May 29, 2008 02:05 AM
The only time I didn't wear a suit to an interview was when I applied to a job right next to the dance studio. I was wearing a black skirt and white and black top that I had worn to school that day, totally not appropriate in my mind for an interview, but when I just ran in to pick up an application they asked if I had time to answer a few questions (yeah, I think they really needed people). I felt so out of the zone because of what I was wearing.
My mom and aunt keep me stocked on suit wear. I think at least one nice suit is such a good investment and if nothing else makes you look mature.
As for makeup, I was once told even though you shouldn't wear too much that you should wear some, because it is expected for females to wear makeup. Has anyone else ever heard of this?
re: What NOT To Wear On An Interview
By mirrimmember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Thu May 29, 2008 07:58 PM
I worked at an electronics store, and we had one guy come in for his interview rolling in on his Heelies and wearing a touque (it was not the middle of winter). We all made fun of him and asked the manager after the interview...he didn't remove the hat during the whole interview!

One thing to add...If you are handing in an application in person, make sure you dress appropriately then too. We had a code that the senior staff members would write on applications and resumes if the applicant came in and was very unkempt or rude to employees. Don't think that because you aren't talking to the person doing the hiring, that your appearance or manners don't count. We had one instance where 2 girls came in to apply, one in a blouse and dress pants, the other in a skimpy tank top and short shorts. The one in dressed nicely got an interview on the spot, while her friend waited around for her.
re: What NOT To Wear On An Interview
By Snuffymember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Sat May 31, 2008 05:04 AM
Edited by Snuffy (189942) on 2008-05-31 05:08:15
When it comes to retail - and more specifically, fashion retail - you want to look neat, clean, like you take a pride in your appearance and you've gone to some effort to look nice, and also, it is essential that you look the part.

If the clothes are kinda funky and you go in wearing a business suit, the employer will immediately figure that you're not what they're looking for. And vice-versa, if you wear something funky and casual to a more sophisticated (for want of a better word) store, again, eyebrows will be raised.

I can pick immediately if someone has a change in an interview at my store, because we have a distinctive look. It used to be regarded as a hippy store, and basically, potential staff would be expected to show up for an interview either in the clothes from the store, or something very much in that style. The company naturally wants to employ people who like that look, who know how to use that style with the clothes in the store, in the best possible way.

I'm actually a bit of a dork, and I'd fail miserably at looking the part for most stores. However, with my store, it was really cool - I wore a long black skirt and a pretty grey top (the top was made by the company, and the skirt was the same sort of style), jewellery that I'd bought in the store... and big chunky knee-high boots with my hair out. Well, basically, I dressed like myself, and I was myself. I did this because I knew that this would show them that I really did 'get' their look (I wouldn't dream of dressing like this for most other jobs!). The interview went really well and I've been with the company for several years now. :) The moral of the story being that if you really want to work for some retail fashion companies, you ought to be familiar with their look, and this in turn means that you should use this to your advantage.

Oh, and I wnat to second Mirrim's points about handing in resumes prior to an interview. Very good points!
re: What NOT To Wear On An Interview
By miraclefrmheavnmember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Sun Nov 30, 2008 11:05 PM
Great thread Muffinhead. I don't have a 'suit', however, I generally have a nice 'jacket' that I can wear with a black top and black pants with my black flats. I call that my interview outfit.

I read online where it says that women should 'always' wear makeup to interviews. Always.

Granted, I haven't always worn makeup to interviews; however, I did read that women who wear makeup actually get paid more too.

So I am trying to wear makeup to more interviews. But I've yet to see a full-time job yet. My time will come :)

I know one day when I went in to turn apply at a temporary agency I would 'dress up' because normally you 'always' get an immediate interview. There would be people coming in shorts, sneakers, and a t-shirt. I would just sit there and laugh at those people thinking what on earth. OH yeah people even wear those big pants where they fall down as the person walks. Yeah that's really smart. LOL!

I saw some at the store on Sunday where this man his pants were dangling on the floor literally. Had his shirt not covered him I would have said something. I mean have a little taste folks.
re: What NOT To Wear On An Interview
By TwirlingMom
On Sat Jan 17, 2009 02:17 PM
If you are interviewing for a job do not wear wrinkled clothes. I sat in on an interview with someone applying for a job to teach at my school. She wore a shirt so wrinkled it looked like she had slept in it!
re: What NOT To Wear On An Interview
By dansa4lyf
On Tue May 19, 2009 05:42 PM
Edited by dansa4lyf (211785) on 2009-05-19 17:44:11 because i left out the 't' in store
I think that if you are applying for a job in retail it is important to at least wear something from that particular store. Because you will usually end up having to wear their clothing at work anyway. It also shows that you have a genuine interest in their particular store.
re: What NOT To Wear On An Interview
By KeepOnSinginPremium member
On Wed Jul 08, 2009 09:23 AM
^ It doesn't have to be something from the store, but make sure it's the same style as the things the store sells.
re: What NOT To Wear On An Interview
By isa13
On Wed Jul 15, 2009 02:21 AM
Make up for women ,well fitting clothing and DEODERANT are musts. I can't believe that I now work with someone who lights up the entire room with body oder when she walks in. I wonder if she was hired that way?
re: What NOT To Wear On An Interview
By Dancerat50member has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Wed Jan 06, 2010 01:00 PM
MuffinHead - this is excellent advice. I wish that this could be taught in school. Actually in my day, it was.

It is also really important that you show up on time (early is better), shake the interviewers hand upon arriving, make eye contact, smile, say "thank you for your time" and shake their hand again when leaving. If it is a corporate job you are interviewing for it is also a good idea to send a thank you note to the interviewer and express again in the note that you feel you would be a good edition to their staff and you would like to work for their organization.
re: What NOT To Wear On An Interview
By rosalinde
On Fri Mar 26, 2010 01:49 PM
I must admit that my teaching jobs have all come from previous teaching jobs (I got my first job after doing a teacher training job), but I do temp jobs alongside my steady job and for those I need to go to an interview. I always wear a nice pair of dark blue jeans and a light blue GSUS sweater (nice tailored, boot-necked sweater) or a light blue blouse, and black shoes. Somehow I have the impression that light blue helps to calm the atmosphere. Whatever you do, don't wear red unless you're applying for a salesman job ...
re: What NOT To Wear On An Interview
By TheMidlakeMusemember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Fri Mar 26, 2010 02:15 PM
I know this was written forever and a half ago, but I'd also like to volunteer a solution for a wrist tattoo if it's small enough--a band-aid. I wear a band-aid over my tattoo five days a week at work, and nobody's mentioned it once in the year that I've had the tattoo. Anyway, just wanted to throw that out as an option!

re: What NOT To Wear On An Interview
By TuniePremium member
On Mon Aug 01, 2011 11:46 PM
"Shorts/short skirts. Even when I worked at Urban Behavior, which is notorious for selling barely-legal short skirts... you don't want to wear a short skirt to an interview."

How short is too short? Do tights/stockings/pantyhose make it any better? What color?

"Whatever you do, don't wear red unless you're applying for a salesman job ..."

I heard that you SHOULD wear red. Red and black are "power colors", so they claim.

"If you are handing in an application in person, make sure you dress appropriately then too."

My boyfriend insists that this is not important, and it annoys me. SO. MUCH.

I once watched a girl hand in an application at the local grocery store. She was wearing sweat pants and flip flops, and slouched on the counter while waiting for the manager to come speak to her. After my initial shock, I started cracking up. Why would anyone do that??


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