Job Interview Fashion Horror Stories

A surefire way to kill any hope of receiving a job offer is showing up to the interview looking bad. Sad but true – even the most prepared candidate doesn’t stand a chance if the first visual impression is a bad one.

In the spirit of Halloween, check out these main characters of job interview horror scenes- the interviewee’s wardrobe and overall presentation- that drew a scary reaction but no job offer.

Skirt too short, shirt too low and both too tight. Your outfit shouldn’t reveal too much when standing up, sitting down or bending over.

Unwelcome smells. This includes body odor, heavy perfumes and bad breath. Conquer all of them by showering and using deodorant before an interview, avoiding any perfumes and using mouthwash or a mint beforehand.

Loud jewelry. Avoid bracelets, earrings and necklaces that are noisy…to the eyes and ears.

Unkempt hair and nails. Your hair should be well groomed. Guys this includes facial hair (which you might want to consider shaving altogether). Fingernails should be neat and trimmed.

Food in your teeth. Double check in the mirror for any leftovers before entering the company’s building.

Inappropriate shoes. Platform shoes, flip flops and tennis shoes are very different from one another, but all could result in no job offer if worn to an interview.

Forgotten pants during a video interview. Television news anchors are known for wearing professional attire from the waist up while relaxing in jeans or pajama bottoms. If you do this during a video interview you run the risk of being exposed. Yes, this has happened.

Rival attire. There’s a time and place to support your alma mater or favorite professional sports team. During a job interview is neither. Your Florida Gators necktie may be your favorite, but the interviewer who went to Florida State may disagree on its value. Yes, this has also happened.

The flu. The only thing you should bring to an interview is yourself, your resume and your reference list. Leave the flu and any other ailments – along with their symptoms – behind. If you’re sick, contact the employer to reschedule the interview.  You won’t be penalized for doing so, you’ll be appreciated.

Visible underwear. Watch the bra straps (so that they don’t show), and the color of the undergarments (so that they don’t show either).

A coffee mug. It’s one thing when the interviewer offers you a cup of coffee (it’s probably still best to politely decline).  But showing up with your personalized travel mug that you continue to sip it during the interview isn’t wise.

Visible tattoos. Conservative is the best approach in a job interview which means covering up tattoos.

Distracting piercings. Remove piercings from everything other than ears (and keep earrings to a minimum).

Your parent. Mom or dad can give you a ride to the interview, but that’s it. Having them walk you to the interview or sit with you during the interview means you won’t get the job. Yes, this has happened.

Career Services has lots of resources to help you prepare for your job interview. Schedule a mock interview or check out our Pinterest boards and blog posts for tips on how to stand out in the interview without scaring your audience.

Tips for completing a job application

When applying for a job, you may be asked to complete a paper or online job application. This is a standard form that summarizes your work history, eligibility and education. You’ll likely complete a job application when applying for part-time jobs.

Listed below are typical sections you might see on a job application, along with tips for providing the information. It’s helpful to have everything gathered in a document beforehand (dates of employment, contact information, salary, etc.) so you’ll have it easily available when completing your application.

Personal information – Full name, address, phone number/email, felony convictions

  • Provide your complete name.
  • Don’t forget apartment numbers, city/state and zip code.
  • Provide a professional/appropriate email address and make sure the voice mail message for your listed phone number is appropriate.
  • If you have a felony conviction you must say so. You’ll have space to list the nature of the conviction. Consider writing “will discuss at interview” in the box. Another option is to attach a document to the application that briefly and clearly explains the facts of the conviction and focuses on your positive qualifications for the job.

Job information – Position you’re applying for, work availability, salary requirements.

  • List the specific job you’re applying for.
  • Be honest about your availability. If you can’t work weekends, don’t check “yes.”
  • Research salary ranges for the position to which you’re applying so your stated requirements won’t be too low or too high.

Education – Name/location of schools attended, degree/diploma, graduation date

  • Start with the most recent school, including those you’re currently attending.
  • List “Diploma” for high school section (or GED).
  • State the type of degree(s) you are pursuing or have earned (AAS, AS/AA, BA/BS, etc.)
  • Include month and year of completed and pending graduation dates.

Employment History – Company contact information, supervisor’s name, dates of employment, salary, reason for leaving

  • Even if the company no longer exists, provide as much contact information as you can (former location for example).
  • Include the month and year for your dates of employment.
  • List your hourly wage or annual salary.
  • Be honest about your reason for leaving. If there were extenuating circumstances, write “See attached” in the space provided and attach a document that briefly explains the reason.

References – Contact information of at least three people who can serve as an employment reference

  • Locate references ahead of time and confirm their willingness to serve as your reference.
  • Use professional references only, not family members.

Some final tips before completing and submitting your job application:

  • Use a black or blue pen for paper applications (not pencil or other colored pens).
  • Write clearly and legibly. Proofread for errors. Consider using correction fluid (Wite-Out) to paint over mistakes on a paper application. If there are numerous mistakes, ask for or download a new form.
  • Type any documents of explanation that you plan to attach to the application.
  • Be honest about all information you submit on the application. With background checks and interviews, any hidden truths will eventually surface.
  • Submit a resume with your application. It shows a level of professionalism that employers appreciate.