Every time I think that I have seen it all when it comes to job interview outfits, someone manages to surprise me. It truly amazes me what outfit choices some people will make when put in situations where first impressions count so much. Here are some of the fascinating choices that I have seen over the years.
A Tube Top and Stilettos-Indeed! I kid you not. We had a lady come in to interview for a front office job opening at the youth-serving nonprofit that I work for in a tube top and stilettos complete with a mini skirt. I know. I am sure some of the teenaged boys who come to the office with their families might give this outfit a thumbs up, but not so much all the rest of us. Besides a few businesses that I do not care to mention, it is always inappropriate to show up for the job interview in this attire.
A nice blue or black suit or non-flashy dress would fit the bill so much better.
Jeans with Holes in Them-My advice to job applicants is to avoid wearing jeans to job interviews unless specifically asked to do so. That is why I was not impressed when we had a job applicant came strolling in sporting lovely hole-filled, fringy jeans. These jeans, with clearly missing pieces of fabric, were matched with a fetching wrinkled (wad on the floor and then put on wrinkled) shirt. The outfit screamed “I put in 0 percent effort to look presentable for this interview”.
Red Knee Socks-I still can picture them clearly in my mind. Sticking out from underneath those carefully pressed, totally appropriate dark suit pants. They were blinding and completely distracting. I could hardly take my eyes off those fuzzy red knee socks.
For the love of humanity, why oh why, would you ruin a perfectly good interview outfit with the socks you wear with your pajamas when you curl up by the fire on a cold, winter’s night. From head to toe the outfit needs to coordinate.
Serious Bed Head-Picture it with me. You have tossed and turned all night because your air conditioning unit is broken and it is approaching 90 degrees in your bedroom. Your hair on the left side of your head has been super glued to the side of your cheek by your sweat. The hair on top of your head is standing up perfectly straight and reaching for the heavens. You show up for your job interview that way.
No. This is not a bad dream. I have been witness to just such a grand entrance and it left me momentarily speechless. All I can still say to this day is that a hairbrush should be thought of as a job interviewee’s necessary friend.
Ode de I Rolled Around in the Perfume Vat– It seems only reasonable to believe that an interviewer should not have to wear a gas mask to make it through a job interview without prolonged brain-rattling sneezing or epic eye-watering. But alas, some people cannot resist the urge to single handedly keep the perfume industry in business. Back away from the cologne or perfume bottle and just go with being freshly showered instead.
I hope that you have gotten a chuckle or two along with a few nuggets of wisdom from these real job interview outfit gaffes. I figure that knowing where the pot holes in the job search road are in advance can help with avoiding them. I would love for you to leave me your comments and accounts of your experiences below.
For more job search tips:
You Put WHAT on Your Resume??
Don’t Blow the Job Interview By Asking These Questions.
Rachel G says
Good advice, that’s for sure! It absolutely matters what you wear! Dressing professionally is key. My husband went on a spontaneous job interview while we were on our last vacation, visiting family. He didn’t have any slacks with him, so he ended up wearing his (nice) jeans, a collared shirt, and a borrowed tie from my Dad–and he also apologized for his less-than professional attire to the interviewer, who knew that was on vacation. It worked, since he got hired! But yes, ideally, a completely professional look is best!
Yes professional dress definitely rules the day whenever possible. Sounds like your husband did a great job even while on vacation.
Those all made me laugh – especially as I am about to embark on the job interview treadmill – I guess I have a head start just by brushing my hair and not wearing red socks or a tube top!
Yes, you are definitely way ahead of the game.
I tend to prefer the coordinated style with a suit, like matching socks with either pants, dress shirt or shoes, but actually red socks are not actually that bad, maybe dark emerald matches better, though. Yellow, flashy patterns and colors or anthagonistic colors are worse :).
Appreciate your insights on this.