Tag Archives: Interviews

What to Wear to an Interview

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What to Wear to an Interview


It sounds corny, but “dressing for success” really works! I actually nailed a good job once solely because I dressed up. I had on a nice pant suit when I applied in person at a department store. One of the managers saw me turn in my application and raced after me to the elevator. She began to tell me how her sales area paid commission, and I realized she was pitching to me! She asked my name, went back and pulled my resume from the pile (which they’re not supposed to do), and then offered me the position. Later, she told me she wanted me on her team because I looked like a go-getter. I eventually turned that job into a secretary position for the same store, which I did (and loved!) for over a year.

Last week, we looked at how important interviews are personally and professionally. This week, we’re going to start with the obvious – what to wear on a job interview.

First, let me say that it doesn’t matter what the actual dress code is for the job you are applying for. Your main goal is to put your best foot forward. You’re essentially selling yourself, so make it good, whether the job is at Lowe’s or Wal-Mart.


The basics for GUYS:
A simple dark suit, button-down shirt, and a simple coordinating tie (no funny stuff!). The shoe color should match the belt. No matter how cool it is, do NOT wear Adidas shoes with your suit. I shouldn’t have to say this, but jeans are utterly unacceptable.

The basics for GALS:
A simple dark suit is a must, whether it’s a pant suit or a skirt suit with a blazer. Either a button-down shirt or a simple blouse is fine, but it shouldn’t be distracting or low-cut. If you wear a skirt, be sure to wear pantyhose and a slip (yes, seriously!). Shoes should be simple and closed-toed, not too high or too flashy. Jewelry is fine, whatever goes with the outfit.

Hair should be well-kept. That doesn’t mean it needs to be pulled back, but that wind-swept beach look isn’t going to cut it. Wear a little makeup to show you care, but don’t try to look like you work at the MAC counter (unless you’re applying for the MAC counter).

Yes, you want to be distinctive, so a pop of color or a unique necklace is fine. However, the key here is to keep it simple. You want the spotlight on you – your smile, your energy, your confidence.

Next week, I’ll share a funny list of things NOT to wear to an interview (or to work in general, for that matter).

After being interviewed all day at a writers conference, I enjoyed spending time with new friends at a banquet. This is author Kristen Hogrefe who taught one of the classes.

After being interviewed all day at a writers conference, I enjoyed spending time with new friends at a banquet. This is author Kristen Hogrefe who taught one of the classes.

Intro To Interviews

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I don’t know about you, but there’s rarely a week that goes by that I don’t learn something new that I wish I had learned in high school. I won’t go into the state of our public education system, but I’m going to assume you feel the same way.

Instead of bemoaning the state of affairs, though, I’ve decided to do something about it. I have a Masters degree, a professional designation, and over a decade working in the business / insurance industry, and I’m going to use all of it to drop some knowledge on you.

One of the most important things for anyone to learn is how to ace……the dreaded interview. I always figured that these were so few and far between that I could basically cram for it like a history test, get the awesome job, and be done with it already. Unfortunately, that couldn’t be farther from the truth! I’ve put some thought into this, and I’ve realized that most memorable moments in life involve an interview of one kind or another. For example:

· When you apply for college, especially for Ivy League schools, you’ll need to write a paper and sell yourself, telling them why they need you at their school. If you pledge a Greek house (fraternity or sorority), they’ll put you through a next-level kind of interview process.

· Of course, when you apply for a job, you’ll need to interview. However, after you get the job, you’ll eventually want to get more out of it, like a better position or more pay. To get that, you’ll need to take on more responsibility. You’ll need to ask for things, such as permission to attend an out-of-state conference or to take continuing education courses, and you’ll have to explain why they should spend more money on you.

· Your actual job may involve interviewing people – mine does! I regularly ask directors and VPs about their projects and initiatives and look for risks that could keep them from achieving their goals.

· As an adult, you end up having to interview people you want to hire, like contractors, lawn care workers, even hair stylists and doctors.

· Even first dates are like interviews – but hopefully more fun! (If all goes well, you’ll have the future-mother-in-law interview. Good luck with that one.)

You’ll also continue to be interviewed by other people. A couple weeks ago, I sat down with six different agents, editors, and authors, pitching my book ideas in 15-minute time blocks. Now, those are straight-up interviews!

To me, an interview is an opportunity to advance yourself, whether personally or professionally. Since it’s that important, and we can’t avoid it anyway, we should embrace it and conquer it! In the next couple blogs, we’ll focus on job interviews and look at how you can put your best foot forward to get that job!

After being interviewed all day by editors and agents, I got to meet journalist and best-selling author Todd Starnes. Glad I dressed nice!

After being interviewed all day by editors and agents, I got to meet journalist and best-selling author Todd Starnes. Glad I dressed nice!