unfrozen_caveman_lawyer.jpgSadly, you’re going to be judged on how you look when you interview.  I’m not saying that if you’re better looking you’ll get the job & more money for it (I’ll leave that to these guys, and them, and them).  Uggh – I just read a bunch of depressing articles on how shallow people are – especially interviewers.  So, what to do?  First thing: groom.   It’s a cliche, and I hate those, but dress for success.  If you show up to an interview – where people kind of assume you’re putting your best foot forward (dammit, there I go again) – and you look, well, sloppy, people think you’re basically only going to get worse from there.  I know a lot of people who take the stance: “Hey, this is me – if they don’t like it, then this clearly isn’t the place for me to work.”  Fair enough: McDonald’s doesn’t give a crap how you dress for an interview – is that the place for you?

If you’re being smart about your job-hunt, then you’re smart enough to know that people make snap assumptions, like it or not.  We’re called humans, just like you.  While it’s wonderful of the person I just referenced to think that there’s some Nirvana of perfect, insightful interviewers out there, it just ain’t so. 

It’s not difficult: shower the morning of the interview (yes, I know, but trust me, I’ve interviewed people who smelled like they were coming off a bender); the day or two before, pick out an outfit – suits never hurt, even in software companies.  That said, think about your audience: if it’s a more formal atmosphere, keep it formal.  If it’s funky, ad agency/ marketing/ dot.com, a more casual suit’s probably a good move.   Although, dark suits hide lots of sins…

Couple don’ts: 

  • Never, ever wear sandals – I mean, ever.  It’s going to piss somebody off.

  • No perfume, cologne, curry, fish stink – somebodys bound to be allergic.  Murphy’s a bitch with that one.

  • No cleavage – seriously.

  • Chew some or pop a mint before you go in – just don’t be sucking/ chewing when you walk through the door.

  • Loose the extra piercings (well the visible ones).

  • Ladies (and, oddly, some guys), cover thy belly button

  • If you don’t know this, it’s sad, but here you go: guys, your belt color should match your shoe color

  • Invest in an iron, or (smarter) dry clean the outfit before you go in.

Look, here’s the bottom line: if a genius developer walks in wearing shorts, sandals with socks, hair unkempt, and chewing on gum, they might have a shot (Einstein did that community a favor by setting the standard for how a genius dresses).  If that same developer walks in wearing a nice suit, showered, and generally together, they have the job.  Frankly, they have the job, and probably 5 or 10% more in salary.  Because, well, interviewers are human.