Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Look Flawless for Interviews

I've had a lot of friends going on interviews lately that have asked me for some beauty tips/secrets to look flawless (and therefore feel more confident). I thought it'd be a great blog entry to share some of these tips with my readers as well as some of the research I've done on the opinions of what is considered professional by HR Representatives/Hiring Managers.

I'll start off with some interview rules (appearance wise):
1) ALWAYS wear a suit.
White House/Black Market Suit... Gorgeous!

It doesn't matter if the people interviewing you are dressed in business casual clothing, wearing a suit sets you apart, makes you look professional, and shows that you care enough about the position to take the interview seriously and put consideration into your appearance.

Personally speaking, I have a summer suit and a winter suit. This is so I look appropriate, no matter what time of year, and so that I am comfortable, no matter what the weather. If it is extremely hot outside or you find yourself burning up during your interview, take your jacket off (if you have an appropriate shirt underneath) and carry it. Simply the fact that you thought enough to bring it along speaks volumes about your sincerity and seriousness about both the position and the institution.

I understand that out of college money is tight (especially when those student loans kick in) and you might think a suit is out of your monetary reach, but I promise you it isn't and it is well worth the investment. Stores like H&M have very nice looking suits for very inexpensive. I got my summer suit there... it was $29.95 for the skirt and $49.95 for the jacket. Not a bad deal! You can also purchase separates there so if you are a different size on top and bottom you can achieve a look that fits you well. Another fantastic place to look for suits is White House/Black Market. A bit more expensive than H&M, but they have some beautiful (and timeless looking) suits! If these options still are too expensive, borrow one from a friend or even go in on a suit with a friend that's the same size and keep your fingers crossed you don't have interviews on the same day! I don't recommend this, but I even have had a friend purchase a suit, keep the tags on, wore it and planned on returning it. Fortunately she got the job and ended up keeping the suit!

I do understand that there are some VERY casual work environments this might not apply to (including my current place of employment). I knew going into the interview that the vast majority of employees wear jeans every day. Since I knew this, I didn't wear a suit to the interview, but still took the opportunity to look like a professional without overdoing it. I wore a nice button down shirt with a fabulous belted pencil skirt and some heels. My boss commented on how nice I looked said that most people come in dressed more casually and that he appreciated my effort. This also worked out well for me because I ended up on Skype for part of my interview with the CFO in San Francisco and I would have been so embarrassed if I looked poorly for that portion of the interview.

2) Show some personality.
 There are many easy ways to do this with your apparel. If you are interviewing at a very conservative institution, wearing a button down business shirt is recommended, but if you're in a more casual environment I recommend showing your true colors with your shirt under your jacket. I really like to wear a cute lacy cami underneath my suit coat. I have relatively slim shoulders and a small bust so I don't think suit coats look very flattering on me. By wearing a cute shirt underneath I feel more girly, am more confident, still look professional (of course I would never take off my jacket with this type of shirt) and am showing off my fashionista personality! I have also worn really nice sleeveless turtlenecks underneath my jacket. Again, this look makes me feel more feminine and confident while still looking professional.

3) Don't intimidate with your outfit choice.
Gorgeous Makeup, but maybe not for your interview...

I am very tall for a girl (5'10") and I LOVE my sky high heels! I wore a pair of 4 in heels to an interview once (very classy, beautiful Michael Kors) and after I got the job and had settled in a bit, one of my supervisors who had been part of the interview process took me aside and mentioned to me that before I was offered the job, a topic of conversation amongst some of the interviewing committee was the fact that I was intimidating because of my height. I always keep this in mind before heading into an interview now. I even have a special pair of interview shoes that are very classy and timeless, but only have a little kitten heel. This is important because I do think it's important for women to wear heels to an interview... flats just seem inappropriate.

This rule is also applicable to your overall appearance... Don't intimidate with crazy hair, too much/crazy makeup, low cut top, short skirt, tons of visible tattoos, etc.

4) Don't show too much skin.
This one seems obvious, but I still see/hear about people doing it all the time. If you're wearing a skirt, you HAVE TO wear nylons or tights to an interview. No bare legs! Control top nylons/tights also help keep everything flat underneath your suit and help avoid wrinkles on your clothes.

Also, this is terrible, but I read an article in a magazine at the nail salon that said that thin/fit women make considerably more money than larger women and are more often offered the jobs. I was really interested in this and sure enough, I found a similar article on CBS (see link below). According to CBS, women that way 25 lbs less than the group norm tend to make about $16,000 more/year while women 25 lbs above the group norm make about $14,000 less/year. I find this FASCINATING! So, suck em in ladies! Every little bit helps!

Now on to some tips for the big day. These are just little things I do to prepare/ensure that I am flawless and ready (appearance wise).

Tips for the Big Day:
1) Prepare everything the night before.
This includes ironing your clothes, laying everything out, picking out jewelry, packing your portfolio/briefcase with extra resumes, cover letters, etc, packing your purse full of necessities/just in case items (tampons, lipgloss, bottle of water, etc). Pack a makeup/hair touch up bag as well so you can apply everything right before you go in to the interview.

Drink tons of water the night before so your complexion is fresh (avoid sugary drinks like soda and especially alcohol... it can cause headaches, feeling bloated, and gas... the interviewee's worst nightmare). Also, get to bed early. Lots of sleep also helps your complexion and minimizes circles under your eyes.

2) Keep it small and good for you.
The next day have a small, healthful meal before your interview to avoid nerves and upset stomach situations. I have a super touchy stomach and before interviews I always eat a small meal and lay off the coffee. Avoiding coffee helps a ton! It keeps away some of the jitters (which for me results in VERY fast talking) and also keeps you better hydrated so you will feel better throughout the day (and your skin will show it).

I know it's terrible, but I always treat myself to something huge and delicious to reward myself after the interview! I should probably stick with the healthful eating, but after being so good on such high adrenaline I just can't help myself. After my last interview I treated myself to a margarita and pizza! My usual favorite reward is a giant cup of frozen yogurt... Mmmm Pinkberry!

3) If you can avoid it, don't do your makeup until right before your interview.
Layering makeup can have disastrous effects and make you look haggard. If you must put on makeup before your interview, keep it light. Only put on your face/base makeup (primer, foundation, powder, moisturizer) and use nude colors.

My last interview was in the afternoon so I went to work all day prior to the interview. I wore makeup, but kept it very natural so that I could apply perfect makeup just before my interview. This worked out perfectly and saved time because I already had my base done!

4) Keep your color choices conservative.
Beautiful, Conservative Makeup. Flawless.
Photo taken from Pinterest/Original Site:

This one is always hard for me because I LOVE a bold and dramatic eye, but for interviews I think it is very important to keep your color choices conservative. The easiest way to do this is to stick to tans and neutral colors. It is very important to look fresh and eager! I will go into my perfect interview makeup look in my next blog entry.

5) Keep a getting-ready travel bag with you (but don't leave it in the car if you're at work before your interview... you don't want your makeup to melt).
As I mentioned, my last interview was during the afternoon so I worked all day beforehand. I went to my parents' house before my interview to get ready (they live right up the street from the institution). I took the makeup I planned on using (since I only had a base on), a curling iron for touch ups, hairspray, and a teasing comb (i DESPISE flat hair that sticks to your head... so unattractive).

If you don't have the option to go somewhere to get ready, all of this can be done in a bathroom or even in your car (except for the curling iron... unless you have one of those really cool heat cell curling irons like they sell in Europe). I have done my hair and makeup in my car a million times! It's not ideal, but it works. If it's a really small institution and you don't want anyone to see you doing this, you can always park up the road or in a different parking lot before heading over to the company lot.

6) Pay attention to every part of your face.
Every inch of your face should look flawless. I usually only wear chapstick on my lips (cause I don't want to draw attention from dramatic eye makeup), but for interviews I always put on a matte lipgloss. I like to wear something light that isn't overwhelming or intimidating, but I think it's important that it's visible. The more put together you are, the more confident you will be.

If you have full lips and tend to get lipstick/gloss smears on your teeth, try an old pageant secret and put a little bit of Vaseline on your teeth. This will keep your lips from getting stuck on your teeth (less smudge) and enable you to keep your smile up!

7) Keep it smooth.
Beautiful Hair! This would make me WAY too tall though!
Photo taken from Pinterest/Original Site:

Even if you have a funky, choppy hairstyle, I think it is best in interviews to keep it smooth and under control. Keep your hair styled. If you have very long hair, a bun (low or high) or nice parted ponytail always looks professional. This will also keep your hair off your face so it doesn't distract you.

I hope these help everyone that reads them! Please feel free to bring up anything I've forgotten or questions you might have. I'll post the perfect interview makeup look in a blog later this week for you all to see exactly what I'm talking about!

For interview tips I highly recommend you check out the blog below. This woman is very helpful and gives some really great suggestions about how to have a positive interview outcome!