Over the past nine-plus years, I have interviewed hundreds of job seekers. The ones that I remember most are those that presented poorly.
- The woman wearing perfume that literally made me ill.
- The man who had used “hair-in-a-can” (Yes, he had spray-painted his bald scalp black!).
- And the woman who, forgive me, had put on so much makeup that I thought she was applying for the position of circus clown.
As far as I am concerned, rule number one is no perfume, cologne, aftershave, or scented anything. You might think you smell good, but if the interviewer’s stomach is churning, it’s going to be a short interview.
Rule number two is only a minimal amount of makeup. But, I’m a man, so what do I know about makeup?
Therefore, I asked New York makeup artist Ewelina Krupinska what she advises women to wear – makeup-wise – on an interview.
“A woman’s makeup can be an important factor in an interview, so important, that it should not be ignored,” she said. “Everyone has a different perception of what makes them look presentable, but there are some universal rules. First, you should not use your ‘everyday’ makeup. Remember, you are meeting a potential employer. While your makeup does not have to be ‘natural,’ it should not be too dramatic. You have to take into consideration the corporate culture and the position for which you are applying. Mimic women who are in the position.”
Of course, the question is, How can you find that out? It may be as simple as looking at the company’s annual report or website. If you can’t find any photos, if feasible, go to the company at the start of a workday and see what the women are wearing. Even if you don’t know who’s who, you will know what the corporate culture dictates.
But back to Ms. Krupinska.
“As for women who don’t regularly wear makeup, and who think they don’t need to, think again,” she said. “You have to consider your competition and you don’t want an employer thinking that you don’t take pride in your appearance.”
“So, use some concealer and a bit of foundation to cover any imperfections (like a pimple or a blemish),” she advised. “If you don’t know how to properly apply makeup, department stores offer the service for a nominal fee.”
“Just remember,” she concludes, “stay professional.”
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