Hair and Makeup Tips to Help You Ace Your Job Interview

Wendy Rodewald
Job interview

How to make sure they’re looking at your resumé, not your hair.
Photo: Getty Images

True story: I once interviewed a job candidate who was wearing so many layers of clumpy, black false lashes that they were falling into her eyes every time she blinked. Needless to say it was pretty distracting.

While sporting a makeup look that belongs at the club (or on a clown) is a pretty obvious job interview don’t, some of the more subtle messages you’re sending with your hair, makeup, nails and even fragrance are just as important when it comes to making a good impression.

To find out the best way to prep for a big interview, I checked in with Nicole Williams, career expert for LinkedIn and founder of WORKS, one of the leading career consultancy firms on the East Coast. Here are her tips for making sure your sparkling personality is what your interviewer remembers — not your out-there eye makeup.

Which makeup looks work well for an interview, and which don’t?
In terms of interview-appropriate makeup, what you don’t wear is often just as important as what you do. The key to interview makeup is to keep it simple. This isn’t the time to experiment with your style. If you normally wear a red lip – wear it. However, if you are a newbie, skip it. You don’t want to risk it wearing off or rubbing onto your teeth or coffee mug. Also, stick to warm colors and tone down the glam eye shadow.

What’s the best way to project professionalism with your hairstyle? Should you get a blowout or pull your hair back into a bun?
Personally, I am a huge fan of getting a blowout. It gives me that extra boost of confidence before I hit a big meeting. Everyone gains their confidence in different ways. If you can work a great bun – wrap it up. Whatever hair style you choose make sure you look polished and put together. People might not notice when you are put together but they 100% notice when you aren’t.

If someone has a nervous habit of, say, playing with her hair or picking at her cuticles, what’s the best way to minimize this during an interview?
First of all, many people are unaware of their nervous habits. I’d recommend doing a mock interview with a friend and filming your responses and studying your body language. If you do play with your hair – maybe you should put your hair up in a bun to resist the temptation. Picking cuticles is a pretty common nervous habit. Try holding a pen or portfolio during the interview to keep your hands busy. Get a great manicure – to resist the urge to peel off your polished nails.

What’s one grooming or beauty must-do that many interviewees forget?
Many people are so focused on their outfit they don’t realize their shoes and/or bag is scuffed. These little details are important to take care off. Also, if you are wearing a peep toe shoe or sandal – get a pedicure.

Any other do’s or don’ts?
Don’t be heavy handed when you apply your fragrance and make sure it is a subtle selection. If you aren’t sure how to style yourself for the interview you should research the company. Look up company employees on LinkedIn. Study their profiles photos. How are they wearing their hair, what type of makeup are they wearing? You can learn a lot about presentation from these profiles.

What do you do to prep for a job interview?

Read more: What Twirling Your Hair Says About You: 5 Body Language Surprises

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