How to Craft a Winning Appearance for That Interview

When it comes to interviewing, it’s not just your clothes that make an impression

How do you convince an employer that you’re the best candidate for a job? By putting your best foot forward. Getting an interview means the company already views you as a serious contender, and meeting them in person is the chance to make them feel even more confident about you.

Of course you’ll want to spend some time preparing for what you’ll say in the interview, by reviewing the job description closely, researching the company, putting together some questions, and organizing your references. You might want to review these interview tips on the days leading up to the interview as well.

But part of feeling confident on the day is presenting yourself as professional. Think of your appearance as one of the many factors that can help you win the job! You want to look put-together, polished, clean, well-groomed, and presentable. All of your choices should reinforce this image.

While you’re preparing in the days before the interview, keep these tips in mind. The mantra is: Keep it simple. Less is more!


Even if the job you’re applying for will not require that you wear a suit every day, this is still standard interview attire. The most important thing is to choose a suit that fits you well.


Women: Your hair should be clean and well-kept. Try to avoid using lots of hairspray or other products that could project a strong odor or ignite an allergic reaction.

Men: Get your hair cut a few days before the interview.


Men should shave on the morning of the interview. Stubble looks unprofessional. If you have a beard or goatee, make sure it is neatly trimmed.


Women: You want to go understated, with small earrings and a simple chain necklace. Avoid wearing dangling earrings or large, chunky necklaces or rings that are too bold.

Men: If you wear a chain or other jewelry on a daily basis, it’s best to take it off for the interview.


Women: Trim them to medium length. Choose a plain or neutral shade of fingernail polish. Avoid long nails or flashy decorative tips—they may get the wrong kind of attention.

Men: Make sure your nails are clean, short, and well-trimmed.


This should be minimal. You want to look fresh and presentable, not harsh or extreme in any way.

Perfume and cologne

Remember: not everyone likes it. It’s a good idea to avoid wearing any (and if you’re freshly showered you will smell clean anyway). There’s every chance that the person interviewing you could have allergies, and it won’t help you to get the job if he or she is sneezing or rubbing their eyes during the interview. Scent is one way you do want to “fade into the background.”

Body piercings

Remove any visible piercings you can, including nose rings and tongue rings. These can be distracting to the interviewer.


If possible, wear clothing that covers any visible tattoos you have. Even if your interviewer also has tattoos, your body art is not the first impression you want to make. (Some companies have policies on visible tattoos, but you can wait to ask about that until after they offer you the job.)

Purses and portfolios

Ladies: An interview is not the place to lug your big shoulder bag or oversized purse. It looks sloppy, casual, and disorganized. All you need is a small purse with your car keys, small wallet, and cell phone.

Bring a portfolio or folder that is neat and clean. This is where you can keep copies of your resume, a list of questions you want to ask, and your list of references. A pad of paper is also a good idea. And don’t forget a pen! It’s important to be able to take notes if necessary.

Making a professional presentation will help the employer see you as a serious, desirable, and capable candidate. Give yourself a leg up by taking the time to present an image that lives up to how great you really are!


The Salter School of Nursing and Allied Health, located in Manchester, NH, offers career training in a number of healthcare fields. If you are looking to begin a new career, request more information today.

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