Don’t chew gum, sport a Mohawk or wear jeans (and 51 other things you shouldn’t wear or bring to an interview)

Numerous books, blogs and websites offer tips on how to dress for a job interview. Career Services has many suggestions – you can find lots on our Pinterest boards. But at the end of the day, job seekers still show up to interviews wearing the wrong attire and carrying the wrong items.

Great look for a concert, not for an interview

You can be the most qualified candidate on paper and still not receive a job offer because you bomb the interview. Right or wrong, employers judge your interviewing skills and candidacy upon first glance.

So here are two laundry lists of things you shouldn’t wear or bring to an interview.

What not to wear to an interview

  1. Nose rings
  2. Tongue rings
  3. Large earrings
  4. Many earrings (Regardless of size)
  5. Bangles or other dangly distracting bracelets
  6. Necklaces with large pendants or multiple strands
  7. Large rings
  8. Unkempt hair
  9. Flamboyant hairstyles (Mohawks, feather extensions, rainbow stripes, etc.)
  10. Lots of facial hair (Keep it clean or shave it off)
  11. Low cut shirts
  12. High cut skirts (Follow the fingertip rule: If a skirt or dress is shorter than your fingertip when your arm hangs by your side, it’s too short for the workplace)
  13. Tight anything (Pants, tops)
  14. A suit that’s too big or too small
  15. Flip flops
  16. Sandals
  17. Tennis shoes
  18. Shoes meant for the nightclub
  19. Anything made from denim
  20. Tattoos (Cover as many as you can)
  21. White socks
  22. Religious symbols
  23. Novelty ties (Save the Snoopy tie for the office after you’re hired)
  24. Lapel pins
  25. Brightly colored clothes (Stick to black or blue)
  26. Too much makeup
  27. Heavy perfume or cologne (It’s best not to wear any)

What not to bring to an interview

  1. Yawns
  2. Your children, parents or friends
  3. Cell phone that isn’t turned off
  4. “Fingertips” or “wet fish” handshake
  5. Bone-crushing or knuckle-cracking handshake
  6. Backpack
  7. Tote/bag with a company’s logo on it
  8. Big purse filled with overflowing receipts, lipsticks and other “purse” items
  9. Bad attitude
  10. Lack of knowledge about the company or the position
  11. Illness (If you’re sick please reschedule!)
  12. Pictures of your pets or family
  13. A change of shoes (Wear your interview shoes to the interview!)
  14. Poor eye contact
  15. Lies (Tell the truth about everything)
  16. Jittery nonverbal skills (Bouncing leg, tapping fingers, waving arms)
  17. Bad breath
  18. Body odor
  19. Chewing gum
  20. Anecdotal stories that aren’t relevant to the interview
  21. Long, rambling answers to interview questions
  22. An iPod and headphones
  23. Lack of experience answering behavioral interview questions
  24. Blank list of questions to ask (Always ask questions!)
  25. Water bottle, coffee or any beverage
  26. Loose papers (Purchase a binder or portfolio to carry resumes, references lists and other documents)
  27. Apathy

Still not sure? Meet with a CPCC career counselor to discuss interviews. Schedule a mock interview where you can role play an interview and receive feedback about your performance – including your appearance.

Rule number one: Trust your gut. If you’re unsure whether or not you should wear it or bring it to the interview, you should probably leave it at home.