What comes to mind when you think about a job interview outfit? You might imagine traditional wardrobe staples like a suit, blazer and conservative shoes.
These are all key elements of an ensemble’s bigger picture, but the four F’s are equally as important. These are the more nuanced details that must be paid attention to so the look's complete.
The next time you’re headed for a job interview, consider these little details as part of your outfit — and check them off as you go.
I struggled for years when it came to my fingernails. My habit was biting and picking at them, hardcore. A couple of years ago, I was able to curb the habit with the help of getting gel manicures. The gel manicures strengthened my nails, which allowed them to grow out. I wasn’t too keen on picking at them when they were pretty and polished either.
In retrospect, I would have made an effort to start getting manicures right out of college (if not sooner) and understanding the impact that a fresh manicure brings to a job interview. Career coach Carla Isabel Carstens would definitely agree with me. Carstens is also the founder of FreeFashionInternships, where she helps college students and young professionals take a proactive approach in finding their dream career.
Should you get a manicure prior to your interview? Yes. What if your nails are chipped? Can you skirt by without anyone noticing? Nope. If you’re in a time crunch, Carstens advises it’s better to take it off and go bare than arrive with chipped nail polish all over your fingernails.
2. Fresh breath
Here’s a quick hygiene checklist for your mouth that absolutely must be taken of before you arrive to a job interview:
- Did you brush your teeth?
- Have you flossed today?
- Did you rinse with mouthwash?
Chances are you probably did all of the above — when you woke up in the morning. But, maybe you had a bagel with onion chive cream cheese for breakfast or got a piece of food stuck in your teeth during lunch. Always brush your teeth and floss once again for good measure. Still in doubt about your breath? Keep a few pieces of mint gum handy. Chew (and quickly get rid of) the gum on your way to the interview for fresh breath.
Invest in a clean, classic fragrance for your interview. Give yourself a quick spritz on your inner wrists and rub them together. Or, you may spray the fragrance bottle once in the air and walk under the scent as it settles on your attire. This ensures that you smell nice, but don’t smell as though you have been spraying yourself nonstop with a perfume bottle.
Another pro tip? You only need a hint of fragrance. No need to add on more smelly products, like lotions or essential oils.
Finally, let’s revisit your job interview ensemble. How does the fit feel? The answer, ideally, should be that your outfit fits well and is polished for your frame.
Do not wear any garments that feel too tight or are visibly too tight. The same should be said for ill-fitting, larger articles of clothing. Tailor clothing like pants for a better fit, or shop at stores that provide a wider range of sizes that can accommodate your body.
Your interview ensemble should make just as much of a good impression as you, and your professional background, set out to do during a job interview. You’ve come this far, so you can’t let yourself down! Conduct a little bit of maintenance as needed to make sure you’re well dressed and ready to impress.