Interview Etiquette

Interview Apparel & Etiquette

The notion of looking different so you’ll stand out in the interviewer’s mind is false. You’ll probably stand out for the wrong reasons. When in doubt, be conservative, be professional, and be aware that you are selling a total package-appearance may be the reason you don’t get an offer. The recommendation, in general, is the conservative approach to avoid being screened out due to dress or appearance before you even get a chance to sell yourself in the interview. While you might not agree with the following, all are considerations for being screened out of a job interview, depending on the organization, your career field, and the specific person’s perspective who is interviewing you.

Now is the time to request interview clothing for birthday presents and holiday gifts. Stay away from trendy fashions and colors. Dark suits are most appropriate for men and suits with skirts (vs. pantsuit) for women. You need to know that many interviewers do not feel that slacks are professional dress for women. Dark dress shoes for men and no spike heels or open toe/heeled shoes for women. Dark socks to match the suit for men and flesh colored hose for women. No white socks or tennis shoes should be worn to a professional job interview. Traditional cultural dress or turbans are not recommended to be worn to the interview unless required by your culture.

Limit jewelry to simple, classic styles: a gold chain or lapel pin for women, watches for both men and women, tie tacks or clips for men. Both men and women should limit the number of rings worn to one or two per hand. Do not wear dangling earrings or noisy bracelets. One pair of earrings only is appropriate for women, and men are recommended to not wear any earrings to the interview. No earrings in places other than earlobes. Men should ideally be clean shaven, although a neatly, closely trimmed moustache may not be an issue. Long hair on women might be pulled back away from your face. Long hair on men should be cut or at the very least pulled back for the interview. Tattoos not covered by clothing might be covered up by makeup.

Again, if you have a question on attire or appearance, choose the more conservative look. Appear professional and avoid looking like you are going to a party.

Interviewing Etiquette Tips

  • DO look professional
  • DO have good eye contact
  • DO be specific
  • DO be flexible
  • DO listen carefully
  • DO be enthusiastic
  • DO speak clearly and concisely
  • DO smile
  • DO NOT chew gum
  • DO NOT smoke
  • DO NOT wear excessive jewelry
  • DO NOT lie
  • DO NOT mumble
  • DO NOT brag
  • DO NOT interrupt
  • DO NOT look at your watch

Common Reasons for Applicant Rejection (after an interview)

  • Poor appearance
  • Poor voice, diction, grammar
  • Little enthusiasm, passive, indifferent
  • Evades, hedges unfavorable factors
  • Late for interview, disrespectful
  • Talks too much, rambles
  • Unable to handle silence
  • Negative attitude
  • Lack of extracurricular involvement
  • Couldn’t sell him/her self to the employer
  • Overbearing, aggressive
  • Lack of purpose, career goals (j
  • Unwilling to start at the bottom
  • Lack of courtesy, proper etiquette
  • Poor eye contact, extreme nervousness
  • Lack of poise, lack of confidence
  • Condemnation of previous employer
  • Lack of leadership skills
  • Didn’t ask for the job
  • Talked about salary

Source: Koseanne Lidle Bensley, Placement and Career Services, New Mexico State University