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The Style Guide to a Memorable Job Interview

By Alyssa Ruiz

Imagine trying to secure your dream job. The hours spent polishing your resume and asking your colleagues to review every word–then getting the long-awaited callback. You think the job is in the bag, but here is why the interview is just as, if not, more important, to impress your future employers.

“Some companies are very casual – people come to work in tee shirts and jeans – while others still have rigorous dress codes. But no matter how casual the dress code – don’t be a slob,” said Erika Andersen, Proteus founding partner and Forbes Magazine contributor.

I’ve heard mixed perspectives from my colleagues as they each went in for their first handfuls of job interviews. Some believed it was “superficial and face value” and others say “the face to face interaction actually helped boost my confidence.”

The reality is, yes, job interviews are about first impressions. But how else is a potential employer supposed to meet you? It’s an efficient way to put a name to a face, see your mannerisms and what you have to say about the company; even if it’s not verbal.

“Having good personal hygiene – clean hair, showered, nails trimmed – and clean, unwrinkled clothing is much more important than whether you’re a little over-dressed or under-dressed,” said Andersen. “When someone comes to an interview looking like he or she has just rolled out of bed, it communicates lack of respect for the interviewer, the job and the company.”

Finding that middle ground right along the line of not-too casual and not-too dressy is just the idea American Eagle Outfitters stylist Gabrielle Hester likes to challenge.

“You want a clean, comfortable and efficient outfit. Just think about the clothes as an extension of yourself,” she said.

Hester suggested a knee length pencil skirt, flowy blouse with ruffles or buttons and a cardigan. She said this is her favorite business casual outfit because you can add the pencil skirt with a touch of color or unexpected pattern while sporting a blouse in a simple color.

Photos Courtesy of Pinterest

“The reason why a lot of stylists will say that you should stick to classic neutrals, black or white is because you want employers to not be distracted by your clothing,” Hester said.

“That doesn’t mean you can’t express yourself, you just want them to think ‘okay check, they have a clean stylish outfit’ and move on, you want them to be engaged with what you have to say and bring to the table,” she said. 

As far as a makeup, Ulta Beauty Advisor Anissa Valencia suggested pairing the outfit with a simple, fresh look.

“I have a deep love watching beauty trends or trying dramatic makeup looks for fun but wavy brows, a smoky eye/glitter cut crease and purple lipstick combo may get a few looks at an interview, and maybe not the ones that you want,” she said. “Maybe just switch it out with watching lighter makeup tutorials that naturally accentuate your features,” she said.


Check out the tutorial here. Photo Courtesy of LustreLux.

Valencia suggests using foundation to even your skin and give it a bit of color, a swipe of mascara, light and natural eyeshadow tones and a light dust of blush on the cheeks for a rosy finish.

If makeup is not your forte or you rarely wear it, Valencia says not to worry.

“Wearing makeup does not equate you getting the job and it’s the same the other way around,” she said. “Maintenance is noticeable, if that means rocking a full face of makeup or you’re a mascara and lip-balm kind of girl, just make sure your skin is moisturized and you feel confident. That glow’s better than any one of our highlighters.”

Acing the interview is all about a clean look and a pop of personality that will keep the employers interested in you. Even just calling you in shows the spark of interest that grew from your written resume.

Don’t downplay that success–remember that the employer called you in for a reason. Now go rock your interview!

What does your perfect interview outfit look like? Let us know in the comments!


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