Workplace Beauty: preparing for interviews

Ashley Evert, Assistant Managing Editor

The season of summer internships is among us.  Students everywhere are getting calls and emails back from potential employers letting them know that they have been granted an interview… but now what? What do you wear? How will you do your hair? Is your daily makeup too dramatic or too subdued?

No worries, fellow intern-hopefuls, I can help with all of your questions. Let’s start with a very common question that will have you rifling through your closet like a madwoman for hours the night before the big meeting:

What will you wear?

This may seem like common sense, but many college students are still seen waltzing into job/internship fairs with hemlines that are too short and heels that are too tall. You may be able to walk like a supermodel in those six inch Jeffrey Campbell’s, but it’s a little much for your first impression.

I am the last person to tell you not to be yourself, but you want your employer to pay attention to your fabulous answers to their questions instead of how bright your neon top is.

The best thing to do it tone it down for the interview, then amp it back up when you get a feel for that specific workplace environment. The safest options are neutral colored dress pants or an appropriate length skirt (try to find one no shorter than 3 inches above the knee), a dressy blouse and shoes with a small heel or flats.

Just to give you an idea, for my internship interview I am wearing a black pencil skirt, black peplum top with a little beaded embellishment, sheer tights and two inch nude kitten heels. The goal is to look classy and professional, not flashy and dramatic.

How will you do your hair?

Hair is a little easier than clothes or makeup, as long as it looks kept and not like a birds nest. The two easiest hairstyles to wear for an interview are the classic chignon and the half-up.

A chignon is when the hair is pinned into a knot at the nape of the neck or back of the head. There are many variations of the chignon and there are a bunch of great tutorials online on how to achieve this simple, professional look.

The half-up is when the top half of the hair is tied or pinned back, pushing the hair away from the face while still leaving the underneath to give the appearance of length. Like the chignon, there are many variations of the half up and easy how-to’s can be found online.

How will you do your makeup?

If you’re anything like me, you love rocking a red lip on a daily basis. Unfortunately, a vibrant pout is generally a no-go at an interview. Opt for a natural color lipstick instead that enhances the color and shape of your lips but doesn’t make them a focal point.

As far as eyes go, muted, neutral colors are best. Don’t pick your interview as the opportune time to wear a smokey eye – dial it back and use some soft contouring to enrich your eyes in a natural way.

By keeping your hair, makeup and outfit simple and professional, your interviewer will be able to pay more attention to your answers to their questions and what will make you a valuable member of their team.

Any questions? E-mail me at [email protected]

Good luck!