- no visible body piercing beyond conservative ear piercings for women
- well-brushed teeth and fresh breath
- no gum, candy, or other objects in your mouth
- minimal jewelry
- no body odor
- Visible body piercings/tattoos
- Body odor; too much perfume/cologne
Riskiest grooming and attire for both men and women:
Dress for success for women
The standard job interviewing attire for women is a conservative dark navy or gray skirted wool blend suit. Job experts and employers seem split on the notion of pants suits (see this section), so a skirted suit is a safer choice.
Other conservative colors — such as beige or brown — are also acceptable. Red is a power color. A blazer with blouse and skirt is a possible second choice to a suit. You should always wear a jacket.
Skirt length should be a little below the knee and never shorter than above the knee — no nightclub attire here. Avoid wearing a dress (unless accented with a jacket). Blouses should be cotton or silk and should be white, or some other light color. Shoes should be low-heeled.
Make-up should be minimal, with lipstick and nail polish conservative tones. Pantyhose should be flawless (no runs) and conservative in color. Avoid both body odor and excessive cologne.
Opt for a briefcase rather than a purse.
Pantsuits vs. skirted suits
Whenever I want to watch my students’ jaws drop down to their desks, all I have to do is tell them that the “safest” attire for women to wear on a job interview is a skirted suit and that pantsuits — while almost universally acceptable in the workplace — are still somewhat risky attire for interviewing.
My students can’t believe it. They are stunned that such a sexist double-standard could still exist in the business world. They are incredulous that they should be expected to wear attire that is so clearly gender-specific.
I can’t blame them. I can’t disagree with any of their protests. All I can do is prepare them for reality: That they might be perceived as less than professional and even lose a job offer if they wear a pantsuit to an interview instead of a skirtsuit. And that they can rarely go wrong by reaching for the highest standard of traditional dress — especially in such conservative fields as banking, investments, and law.