I’ve been interviewing candidates and sending them to clients for years. I’m always pulling for them, and am disappointed when something superficial like a wardrobe miscalculation derails things.
I had a candidate I loved who was being considered by a client looking for a full-time personal assistant. The candidate had a great resume. She had worked for celebrities and high net worth individuals. And she was great to talk to. I sent her to the client and the feedback I got was that she kept her coat on throughout the interview. I was disappointed. But keeping your coat on makes it look like you want to run out of there as soon as possible. It seems a bit petty, but the general impression can outweigh the particulars in an interview. When I’ve gone to interviews or business meeting with clients, I take my coat off in the elevator so I look like I belong there the second I walk in.
The most important thing is to wear clothing you feel comfortable and confident in. Nothing too tight or ill fitting as your discomfort in your clothes will translate to a lack of confidence in the interview. Think business, not party, when dressing for an interview. But you don’t have to be completely somber. I was once leaving for an interview and I had on a black suit with a black shell and black shoes. I looked in the mirror and decided I looked funereal. I changed into a red mandarin-collar blouse to wear under the jacket and it perked me up. For women, small accessories are probably best.
Perfume is risky. I once sent a candidate to a client who was hiring an executive assistant and they complained that the conference room was reeking for hours. Some people are sensitive to scents, so best to skip them for interviews. I actually had a client who was hiring a personal assistant who requested that her assistant not use fabric softener, as she was averse to the smell.
It is important to be yourself in an interview. But if you look in the mirror and realize someone could look at your outfit and ask if it is Halloween or business, you’re on the wrong track. There are great jobs out there! Put your best foot forward and get one!!