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An Interview-appropriate Look: Guest Blogger

Blame it on the West Wing, but for a short period of time we were convinced we wanted to be White House staffers. That whim has long past, but we’re still excited to welcome this week’s blogger, Belle of Capitol Hill Style. The DC-based blogger is out to dispel the myth that you can’t be a serious Capitol Hill staffer and also love fashion. We love her sharp, funny style observations and practical advice (to wit: three ways to wear this season’s cropped sweater). All week, she’ll be sharing her best beauty advice.

On my blog, I often dispense career and professional advice to young women who are just starting out. Many of the questions that I receive deal with what to wear to a job interview. While choosing the right outfit is important, many women forget that the makeup, hair style, and fragrance they wear says just as much about them as their clothes do.  

Hair:  When going on a job interview, your hair should be freshly washed. Too often do candidates minimize their beauty routine in an effort to be punctual and the person will stroll into an early morning interview with greasy roots and drooping locks. This tell the interviewer that this individual is not used to being up at this early hour and that it’s very likely that she will either be habitually late for work or show up looking less than professional. Being prompt is important, but you need to plan appropriately so that you have enough time to properly get ready and avoid making a bad first impression.

Whether you choose to wear your hair up or down, it needs to look polished and professional. This means that your hair should not be worn in a high, cheerleader style ponytail or twisted up into a messy bun with an elastic. These hairstyles are gym appropriate, but not job appropriate. You should also avoid any sparkly clips or other hair accessories, a simple elastic band and bobby pins that match your hair color will do fine.

Also, if your bangs fall into your face or if you fiddle with your hair when your nervous, pin your hair out of the way. You don’t want to do anything to distract the interviewer or make yourself appear less professional.

Makeup:  When interviewing for a job, you want to wear natural makeup.  I recommend a neutral palette of browns and nudes for the eye with a light application liner and mascara. If you usually line both the upper and lower lid, you should consider just lining the upper for your interview.

In my experience, with the exception of the fashion and retail industries, most hiring managers are women who don’t wear much makeup, particularly eye makeup. So when deciding how much makeup to wear, ask yourself, “How would my grandmother feel about this look?”  If Nana wouldn’t approve, wear less.

Fragrance:  When it comes to perfume, the advice is simple: Don’t wear any.  Not all scents are pleasing to all noses and you don’t want to run the risk of offending your interviewer’s olfactory glands before you even open your mouth to speak.

In a job interview, you will be judged. How you speak, how you act, what you wear, and what is on your resume will all be analyzed and measured. Typically, interviewers are looking just as hard for a reason to eliminate you from consideration as they are for a reason to hire you. In the early rounds of the interview process, even small, seemingly trivial things like unwashed hair or dramatic eye makeup can count against you.

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