The Recruiter Roundtable is a monthly feature that collects career and job-seeking advice from a group of recruiting experts throughout the US.
The question we put before our panel this month is, "What is the one piece of fashion and/or grooming advice you wish more candidates would heed before going on an interview?"
Get the Details Right
The night before the interview, lay out your wardrobe to make sure everything fits, is free of wrinkles and is current with today's styles. Also take the time to polish your shoes. While this may sound minor, showing up with scuffed shoes may signal to the employer you lack attention to detail. Finally, remember that the interview is not your time to make a fashion statement, so avoid tight clothing, limit your jewelry and go easy on fragrances. The interview is your opportunity to show hiring managers how talented you are, and maintaining proper appearance will ensure they focus on your abilities rather than your attire.
-- DeLynn Senna, executive director of North American permanent placement services, Robert Half International
Accessorize with Mints
I wish more candidates would take a strong breath mint before their interviews. It may sound silly, but you would be surprised how distracting bad breath can be during an interview! Gum also works, but remember to discard your gum BEFORE the interview.
-- Bob Hancock, independent staffing consultant
What Are You Revealing?
Look in the mirror: If too much is showing, don't wear it. While low-cut blouses or shirts are in fashion, most are inappropriate for the workplace, including the initial interview. The interviewer could possibly be distracted by the inappropriateness of the candidate's attire, and therefore not focused 100 percent on the interview. This is unfortunate for both parties; the candidate may not be getting the positive reaction to answers they want, and the interviewer may be less apt to probe for the information they need to make a solid hiring decision.
-- Joelle Thies, staffing specialist recruiter, Wells Fargo
The Smell of Success Is Scent-Free
If your perfume or cologne enters the room before you do, chances are your scent may be interfering with your chances of landing the job. You'll see subtle signs from the interviewer -- he'll lean away from you, she'll wrinkle her nose or open a window. If someone on the interview team has allergies or asthma, and if you're meeting with them in a small room, your strong scent will be just the excuse they need to leave the room quickly, without them getting a chance to hear the details about the brilliant marketing campaign you developed at your last company. The focus during the interview -- and afterward when the interview team gets together to discuss your interview -- should be on your accomplishments, abilities and why you're the right person for the job. So keep it scent-free.
-- Cheryl Ferguson, recruiter, The Recruiter's Studio
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