Appearance is the one thing you have complete control over in a job interview. While facial jewelry is more common these days, it still isn’t universally accepted, so wearing anything outside of the norm is taking a risk. Some employers will react negatively; some won’t even notice. Only you can decide if it is worth the risk.

So how do you decide?

It all boils down to knowing your audience. Research the organization you’re interviewing with: Do they have a dress code policy on their website? What image do they project to the public? Do you know people who work there who you could ask about appropriate interview attire? Organizations who deal directly with the public tend to be more concerned about the image projected, and therefore more concerned with what their employees wear.

If in doubt about a visible piercing, consider removing it for the first-round interview and see if you get a second interview. If it’s that important to you, ask if it would be acceptable in the organization’s culture. If it isn’t, you’ll have the opportunity to weigh that piece of information in your decision-making process without getting yourself eliminated for a superficial reason up front.

Still have questions about what to wear (or what not to wear) to an interview or the Career Fair? “Is my beard too long?”  “Is my skirt too short?” Experts say that for most interview situations “dressing for success” still means presenting a traditionally acceptable (conservative) appearance. For more tips on this topic visit the CES Guide to Professional Style.

Also, CES can give you personalized advice about your outfit from an interviewer’s point of view. Call 253.879.3161 and make an appointment to wear (or bring) your outfit and have it critiqued.

© 2009 Career and Employment Services, University of Puget Sound