How important do you think appearance is?

Discussion in 'Job Seekers' started by SCTeachInTX, Jul 19, 2011.

  1. SCTeachInTX

    SCTeachInTX Fanatic

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    Just wondering what you all think???... When I interview someone what they wear and their appearance does matter. Does it matter as much as the knowledge or experience they convey? No, but I think it ranks pretty high up. Here are some things I have seen this interview season:

    Dark sweat stains with a white blouse. I know the person may sweat profusely and Texas is hot. Who knows, maybe her car air conditioner is broken. I tried to overlook it. But everyone on the interview team mentioned it after she left. She seemed very nervous and had trouble making eye contact.

    Too short of a skirt. A very nice looking young applicant came in with a very short skirt and blouse. The skirt was just covering her when she sat down. There was a lot of leg exposed. She was very personable and giggled a lot. She had two years of experience and was looking for a change (her words).

    A very severe black suit. It came below the knees and looked big on the applicant. Wondering if she borrowed it? She was very direct and told us that we had found our candidate. She looked directly at the speaker when answering questions and scooted her chair around to make that contact.

    Nice, professional dress and heals. The applicant was very put together. The dress was just above her knees. The candidate was a new teacher and while she did not answer some questions fully, she was willing to learn.

    Long flowered skirt and peasant blouse. I felt like I was in the South of France with the curly, long hair cascading down her back. It was a very earthy feel right down to her birkenstock sandals. But she knew her content and loved children.
     
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  3. MsMar

    MsMar Fanatic

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    Well that certainly is a wide range of attire! Do I think appearance matters? Absolutely. How you look makes the first impression and you want it to be a good one. Will appearance alone get you the job? Of course not, but I do think the wrong appearance can prevent you from getting it.
     
  4. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    :agreed:
    A professional and polished clothing choice and grooming make a positive first impression.

    SC..did you hire any of the candidates?
     
  5. Marci07

    Marci07 Devotee

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    I think appereance for interviews is super important. I don't think appereance alone can get you the job but I do believe that it can prevent you from getting it if it looks like there wasn't much thought put into the outfit.

    I also think it's important to make the person interviewing feel confident. I know that an outfit can boost my confidence tremendously.

    I once had an interview where I just wore my favorite slacks that happen to be very dressy, a nice printed blouse with a nice jacket. They were not all part of a suit but went well together. Although it wasn't a formal suit, it made me feel very confident and it helped me show my personality. I remember feeling very confident in it. Before that, I've tried a couple of skirt suits and I just couldn't get that feeling. I knew suits would be ideal and looked a lot more formal but I just didn't feel like myself. I took the risk and the results were amazing.

    I think the key is finding the right balance between being formal but not the extreme where it makes you feel very uncomfortable where you can't let your personality show
     
  6. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    I think it's incredibly important. Sometimes every bit as important as a host of memorized answers full of buzzwords that tell you nothing about who the candidate really is.

    First impressions can be that "it" factor-- something hard to define that sets one candidate apart from the others.
     
  7. kimrandy1

    kimrandy1 Enthusiast

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    We were always told that a suit for an interview - or at least a jacket and skirt - was essential. And that conservative was far better than risque. I know that younger people may have different ideas about what is conservative than I do, but I have sat in on interviews this summer, and it does seem that many of them get it right. It's the ones that don't that really stick out, lol!
     
  8. SCTeachInTX

    SCTeachInTX Fanatic

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    Not a one. But they were each memorable. (for differing reasons).

    Think about what you are going to wear when you go on that interview. And yes, it matters. So, what will YOU wear? And are there any interview outfits that have caught your attention in the past???

    I still remember two people I interviewed...(below) They did not get a job.

    One lady had extremely long hair that she could sit on. (I remember being fascinated by the split ends.) It just was not a good look. As far as her interview??? I don't remember anything about her except the hair.

    A male applicant came in with a wrinkled white shirt. The thing is that his whole personality seemed just like an absent minded professor type. I wonder if we subconsciously had our mind made up before he even spoke?
     
  9. Marci07

    Marci07 Devotee

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    I agree, just the suit is not going to be enough. Other things as hair, make-up, nails, etc.
     
  10. MissCeliaB

    MissCeliaB Aficionado

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    That said, when my husband interviewed for the job he had now, his hands were stained purple, green, and yellow. He had finished working at a camp the previous week, and had been in charge of the tie-dye activity. It made for an interesting conversation, for sure, but he worked it as a positive about how he is also talented in the arts (he's a math/sci teacher) and he got to showcase his experience working with gifted kids.

    I don't necessarily wear a suit to interviews. I always wear nice slacks and a skirt and a blouse with a nice sweater or jacket. I accessorize (usually with my pearls) and wear sensible shoes. My hair is neat, and my make-up is conservative. I do always throw in a fun little detail, as I think that reflects my personality. So I'll add a colorful scarf, or crazy pattern shoes, or something like that. But just one. I figure if they can't deal with a little fun, it's not a school where I'd want to work.

    When I interviewed for my current position, I wore a white button down shirt with a khaki pants suit (short sleeve, cropped jacket.) I wore cute brown heels, but I wore a huge cascading necklace, and a ribbon headband. I was basically hired on the spot, I think because my principal could see my personality in my clothes, as well as in my interview.
     
  11. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    My favorite of all the interviews I gave was Pat. She arrived a few minutes early, with a HUGE coffee stain down the front of her blouse. She rolled her eyes, smiled, and apologized. It seems she had dropped her husband off at the train on the way to the early morning interview. Someone had cut her off, and she had spilled her coffee down her blouse. It was either return home and change, or be on time. She chose to be on time. So we both had a good laugh, and a good chat.

    She was hired the next day, and replaced me as department chair a few years later. I don't remember a single answer given by anyone I interviewed, but I remember her laughing at the dilemma of being on time or being stain-free. I knew right away that she was able to think on her feet, and had her priorities right. That spilled coffee, and her reaction to it, got her the job.


    That said, the coffee stain was on a professional outfit.

    I realize that it doesn't have to be a suit in some parts of the country (though it pretty much DOES here) but it should be professional and appropriate. It will be a reflection, in the eyes of those interviewing you, of how much you want this job.
     
  12. geek412

    geek412 Rookie

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    I think it's the most powerful first impression a person can give, besides a confident walk and smile.

    I do believe with everyone else. The clothes do not make the woman/man, but it does allow for the opportunity to be taken seriously.

    Maci07 is right about the personality. I keep my clothes pretty conservative to accomodate my vibrant & sometimes wild yet professionally styled natural hair.
     
  13. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    You know how you put a lot of time into writing your resume and cover letter, then proofreading it over and over. This is the best sample of your writing. Well, how you dress for an interview is a lot like this. You need to put extra time into it to show you at your best.
     
  14. Ms. I

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    Yes, I definitely think that appearance can help make or break a person. I've worn a skirt & jacket for most of my interviews, ever since I was trying to get my 1st job at a fast food place.

    I'm waiting ot be called for an interivew any day now for a speech-language pathology asst (SLPA) position. I plan to wear a knee-length basic black skirt w/ black or black & white jacket w/ a blouse & black sandal heels.
     
  15. TamiJ

    TamiJ Virtuoso

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    I do think that appearance is important, especially when you are trying to leave a good first impression. If there is something questionable (like stained hands or coffee stains), then the person should provide an explanation, IMO. Professionalism counts.

    This reminds of an episode of The Real Housewives of New York that I was watching yesterday. Ramona was interviewing some girls, and openly criticizing some of them on their dress, etc. It was pretty humorous, but I wouldn't have wanted to be in their shoes!
     
  16. DaleJr88AmpFan

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    I absolutely agree... your appearance is a first impression as well as your smile and the first utterances you make.

    When I was on our hiring committee, we interviewed 8 different people in a couple of hours. We talked for 15-20 minutes with the candidate and then had a few minutes to digest/discuss. We all found that we made an appearance notation on the top of their resumes. We discussed each person and for reference would use our appearance descriptor- tight sweater, charcoal gray suit, lt blue sweather with black pants, khaki's, etc.

    Dress to impress but also make sure that the little details are taken care of too... nails, makeup, hair, shoes. :)
     
  17. smtownEngteach

    smtownEngteach Rookie

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    I live in Southeastern Missouri, I think schools around here are a little more relaxed as far as the suits go, that being said I always wore a nice pair of slacks and a nice blouse (I actually had a couple of "interview outfits" that I rotated between). I dressed up both outfits with some simple jewelry and made sure my hair and makeup were both neat and simple.
    Not only do I think that appearance is important to the person doing the hiring, but I also think that it makes the interviewee more confident when going into an interview.

    My question would be how much do you think appearance in the terms of things people can not change ( or can't change quickly or easily) plays a role in whether someone gets the job or not. I'm talking about weight, baldness, or just overall looks? I really don't know if it plays a role at all. I have a suspension that it probably does for some and doesn't for others. Just thought I'd see what ya'll think.
     
  18. dgpiaffeteach

    dgpiaffeteach Aficionado

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    Around here, suits seem to be the norm. But when I went on some interviews in KY I noticed a lot of people didn't wear suits. I was really surprised because I just always thought you wore a suit to an interview!

    That being said, I think appearance counts and people will remember your appearance whether you want them to or not. I still have a hard time getting my hair to do *anything* but I try so hard on interview days! I usually don't wear jewelry except my necklace that I never take off and my watch. Sometimes I'll wear my pandora bracelet.
     
  19. MzQualified

    MzQualified Comrade

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    What do you all think about wearing skirts but no pantyhose? I'm in TX and have been wanting to wear a basic black skirt for interviews I've had, but I fear that it may be a bad idea with no pantyhose...IDK. It's just sooooo/tooooo hot for all of that! lol
     
  20. geek412

    geek412 Rookie

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    I think that depends upon the area. I don't wear panty hose simply because it's not the norm for teachers in my community. I'm in South Florida by the way. However, when I lived in VA, I would never dare step out of the house in Virginia without it. :2cents:
     
  21. TXowl

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    This is why I have avoided wearing skirts to interviews this year. I wore a skirt a couple of times last year and about DIED in pantyhose in the summer heat. The P during my student teaching was notorious for her requirement of pantyhose with skirts or open-toed shoes. Ever since then I make sure I am in pants and closed-toe shoes so I don't have to wear pantyhose or risk getting a P like that in the interview.
     
  22. linswin23

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    I'm so glad this topic was brought up! I was going to post a new thread today about dress...I would love everyone's advice--especially those of you who have been the interviewer.

    I finally landed a job interview with this afterschool program. As part of my interview I have to give a 5-ten minute mini-lesson so the panel I will be in front of will see all sides of me. I have some professional dresses that are appropriate lengths and cuts and was thinking about wearing one of those with a light sweater over it and nice dress shoes. I live in S. California so right now it's about 90-95 everyday. What do you think I should wear? I toyed with the idea of a suit, but that would require me to buy one with money that is nonexistent. I do have dress slacks/skirts and could pair that with a nice dress blouse and shoes.

    Let me know what you think! I want this job!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
     
  23. Ms.SLS

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    What kind of school is it? If it's in an affluent area of SoCal, you might consider going to a thrift store and getting a nice black blazer. If it's a more "normal" school, you could probably get away with a dressy outfit.
     
  24. SCTeachInTX

    SCTeachInTX Fanatic

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    NO HOSE ~ IT IS HOT AND WE UNDERSTAND!:D
     
  25. SCTeachInTX

    SCTeachInTX Fanatic

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    DRESS AND SWEATER SHOULD BE JUST FINE! GOOD LUCK!
     
  26. SCTeachInTX

    SCTeachInTX Fanatic

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    Interviewed a person today... It is a 5th grade position. The lady came in a flowered sheath dress with low pumps. The flowers were not overwhelming, the skirt was not too short (just above the knee), and she did not wear hose. It is 105 degrees folks! She was neat as a pin. She must have been in her 30s and she exuded confidence. She just might get this job if no else steps through the door with more to offer my team. The whole interview team loved her personality and she joked with us like we had known her for years. She told little stories about her teaching experiences, and you could tell that she knew her content. All in all... it was a great interview. Does that mean she has the job? No, we have more to interview and someone just may come in and be an even better "fit." But, she will be a hard one to beat. I can tell you that. Her appearance was the def first box that we checked off on her.
     
  27. Peachyness

    Peachyness Virtuoso

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    SCTeach, since you seem to be on a lot of interview panels, could you start a thread just listing some of your top Dos and Don'ts? And maybe any tips?

    In regards to appearance, I definitely do believe that how you dress is important. I typically wear black suit pants, colorful top, a black jacket, and black heels. I plan to purchase a new suit though, that is a lighter color. I've been too afraid to wear a black skirt as I don't wear panty hoses, but am unsure if it's taboo to not wear one when interviewing in a skirt.
     
  28. Rainbowbird

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    I do not think pantyhose are essential. They aren't even fashionable anymore.

    I think neat and professional is the ticket, along with just a little dressier than normal.

    I was on a hiring committee once, and one of the people hired (it was for multiple positions) wore a long batik dress with Birkenstocks. She was earthy-crunchy for sure, but we didn't care. She knew kids and she was really nice. The other person hired wore a dressy tailored pink dress. She looked like she was sweating a ton, but as it was summer and about 90 degrees, nobody held it against her.

    I think there is such a thing as going overboard with regard to appearances.
     
  29. LUCHopefulTeach

    LUCHopefulTeach Habitué

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    What jewelry, if any, is acceptable to wear on an interview?

    I've received mixed feedback about wearing jewelry on interviews. I don't own anything big or gaudy- simple sterling silver pendants and chains- but I've seen women wear all types of big, gaudy, necklaces and bracelets on interviews.
     
  30. SCTeachInTX

    SCTeachInTX Fanatic

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    Well, I have seen pearls, silver, and some eye catching jewelry. I think that if your jewelry compliments your outfit and it makes you feel good, then go for it.

    Peachy- That is funny. My friends and I were just laughing about how many interview teams I have sat on this year. One of my friends calls me GOTO. That is because when everybody else is out of town, admin. can always call the GOTO Girl. Ha Ha! WHich really just means I don't have a life. I might just do what you suggest.
     
  31. Irissa

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    I couldn't get over all the people in flip flops at the county job fair in May. Really Flip flops. It's Florida, but come on!
     
  32. kcjo13

    kcjo13 Phenom

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    Pantyhose-no way. I'd rather wear pants. A local town had their Crazy Days sales last week, and I noticed that the shoe store had a rack outside with all of their pantyhose marked FREE. It was full.
     
  33. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    I wish you had grabbed me some! I wear them almost every day to school.
     
  34. LUCHopefulTeach

    LUCHopefulTeach Habitué

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    I've never worn pantyhose.

    Wait! I did once when I was under five and I was playing cops and robbers with my brother.
     
  35. elateacher4life

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    A think a suit, blouse, and nice pumps are the norm. However, it's important to adhere to the culture of the school and/or district. If it's a laid back, informal environment, just wear slacks and a blouse.
     
  36. smtownEngteach

    smtownEngteach Rookie

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  37. Joy

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    Does everyone always wear a suit to an interview? I am very petite and wearing a suit makes me look like I borrowed it from my older sister even if it fits well. To my last interview, I wore a simple cream skirt and a black 3/4 length sleeve top. I did wear skin colored pantyhose with black shoes with a small heal. I also wore a necklace, bracelet, and earrings. I thought that the jewelry helped jazz the outfit up. I tied my long curly hair back in a pony tail. I spent alot of time choosing the right outfit. I hope that I made the right choice.
     
  38. waterfall

    waterfall Maven

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    I think it is important to look professional and wear a nice outfit. It someone is wearing something that's too revealing, not taken care of (really wrinkled, stained, etc.) or really casual I could see them being judged by that. However, if someone is judging me by if my outfit is "in style" or a good "fashion choice" then I don't want to work there.

    I still wear pantyhose even though most people don't anymore. I honestly don't understand how people wear closed toed dress shoes without them. If I did that I'd get tons of blisters, my feet would hurt, and they'd get all sweaty and gross. I don't wear them to make my legs look better- I wear them to make my shoes feel comfortable! Funny story though...I bought my "interview suit" without thinking about the fact that I'd be wearing pantyhose. The skirt was a size up then I usually wear, but it was the first one I liked after shopping for days, and I figured it might be good anyway to wear something that wasn't as shaped in the back. Well I show up to a job fair to an all day job fair wearing control top pantyhose with my suit (so my waist was smaller)...the skirt was literally falling off! I couldn't even take a few steps without it slipping down. Luckily some very nice people in the bathroom gave me pins!
     
  39. Marci07

    Marci07 Devotee

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    I don't like wearing pantyhoses. I usually put some concealer on my legs to hide any imperfections and they look great. I would wear pantyhouses on a nice dress like Kate Middleton with closed toe shoes but not if I'm wearing open toe shoes.
     
  40. smtownEngteach

    smtownEngteach Rookie

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    That is the main reason I still wear hose, my legs just look horrible without them. I have a very pale Complexion .
     
  41. Special-t

    Special-t Enthusiast

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    For interviews and observations, I wear slacks and a nice blouse with boot-style shoes that I can walk easily in. I have uncooperative hair, but I try to keep it neat. And I wear minimal jewelry. It think it's important to show the interviewers personal style while keeping in mind that it's a semi-formal situation. I try to create a look that could be worn while teaching a class or on parent night.
     

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