After all the work you’ve done on your resume and in conducting a winning telephone interview, you certainly don’t want to blow it by showing up with an appearance that sends the wrong message. First impressions can oftentimes make or break you as a candidate. While it has been said that an interviewer will make a hiring decision in the first sixty to ninety seconds, according an article in Business Insider, you really only have seven seconds to make a good first impression —so make it count.


Here are some tips for showing the company that you are ready to make the executive leap from the moment you walk in the door:


  • Gentlemen, facial hair will grow back. Where interviews are concerned, not going in clean-shaven can be a big risk. I’ve had clients who don’t allow facial hair (beards or mustaches) of any kind. Make sure you know what the company policy is prior to going in for the interview, and if you don’t know, shave.
  • Ladies, don’t overdo the makeup. Ladies, you know what I mean.
  • Do your hair. For men, get your haircut a day or two before an interview.
  • Consider your jewelry from the neck up. You wouldn’t think an executive would have visible piercings, but in today’s world, I have seen it all. Men should remove all piercings and women should wear conservative jewelry.
  • Nix the cologne or perfume. Scents can trigger powerful emotions, and some people are actually allergic to cologne or perfume. One candidate I sent in for an interview was wearing the same cologne as the interviewer’s ex-significant other, which triggered a negative memory in her; it was a huge distraction and needless to say, the interview was over before it even began.
  • Clip your nails. Short and neat. And no need for over-the-top nail polish.
  • Brush your teeth. This is especially necessary if you have had a meal beforehand. If you do decide to eat before the interview, eat clean food—nothing too pungent like garlic or onions—and don’t drink alcohol.
  • Be sure your clothes are clean and pressed. If the shirt or blouse is tattered or stained, opt for a new one.
  • Polish your shoes. Ladies, a slight heel is preferable to sky-high heels or flats.
  • Wear dark socks. No white socks with black trousers and black shoes!
  • Sleep. Get a good night’s sleep. You should not attend an interview looking like you stayed up all night or are hung over.
  • Use a firm handshake. I know some of these tips sound silly, but it happens. You don’t have to squeeze their hand off—one quick squeeze and you’re good. I’ve had executives be immediately disqualified based on a weak handshake.