How to Dress for a Personal Assistant Interview: Do’s and Don’ts
So now you have your résumé and cover letter in order, and you’ve followed the instructions for applying carefully. To your pleasant surprise, you get a phone call that you have an interview. Now what do you do? We know what happens next, you jump up and down and scream out loud. Hold on! You are only at the next phase of the process and it’s way too early to count your chickens before they’ve hatched.
Don’t forget that you are going to have to hit a series of home-runs throughout the interviewing process to beat out the hundreds of applicants that have already applied. Now that you have an interview scheduled, here is the next step: make a careful and calculated decision about what you are going to wear. Obviously, you don’t want to arrive to an interview in a t-shirt and jeans, but you don’t want to overdo it either.
My feeling has always been that less is more. For ladies, go easy on the jewelry. For guys, no jewelry at all. You don’t want to walk into the interview with potential distractions for the interviewer. Remember that they are going to be looking at you under a microscope with very critical eyes. Don’t try and be slick and flashy because this is not a date; it’s a business meeting. Because of that, I don’t recommend having any perfume or cologne either. Always err on the side of caution!
As far as outfits go, again, it’s not a date. Ladies should not have a plunging neckline. Your attire, men and women alike, should be a conservative business suit. For men and women both, I recommend suit pants. Employers have told me behind the scenes that they feel skirts can be dangerous. The reason is simple: if the person you’re working for is married, showing too much skin may be a racy situation.
It also lends itself to creating other distractions with people you interact with. Once you’re hired for the job, your employer will probably give you some coaching as to what you will be wearing day to day. Each job is different. I’ve had jobs with high-end employers that required me to wear a suit every day and some allowed jeans. There’s no rhyme or reason to it.
My last bit of advice is not to get a haircut before the interview. For guys especially, a fresh haircut may look like you’re trying too hard. Remember, there is a small game of psychological warfare going on. You want to give the impression that you’re in demand. If you look like you’ve tried too hard, they may think you’re a novice and not experienced at these kinds of interviews.