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Proper Grooming for a Job Interview

Put Your Best Face Forward and Make a Strong Impression

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Waiting for an interview
Image Source/Photodisc/Getty Images

With unemployment up, these days good jobs are harder to come by. It pays to make a great impression when you get an interview. In fact, Gillette recently commissioned Harris Interactive to conduct a survey of more than 500 HR professionals. The survey revealed that 90% of HR pros believe being well groomed is key to making a strong first impression and setting yourself apart from less tidy competitors. To help give you a leg up on the competition, I offer my tips on proper grooming a job interview interview.

Interview Morning:
Make sure you start your day well rested and be sure to wake up in plenty of time to shower, shave, and dress so you don't look or feel rushed for the interview.

The Hair:
Unless you're interviewing for a highly artistic field, go conservative with the hair -- yes, this means get a traditional haircut. A classic taper or basic business man's haircut are always good options-- short on the sides and back, but long enough for some versatility when not interviewing. Use a matte styling product for a cleaner look and avoid wet looks or trendy styles. Keep in mind that hair will always grow back, so it may be to your advantage to bite the bullet and get a haircut that will look good to perspective employers. Get the job and then grow it back if you can.

Conversely, a haircut that is aggressively short (such as a high and tight or flattop) may be a bit too extreme. If you're wearing a lot of skin, you may wish to consider a bit more length for the job hunt. Again, get the job and you can always go short again, job permitting.

The Shave:
Shave. It's that simple. A clean-shaven face is almost always the best look to let a potential employer know you're serious. A clean shave is the essence of good grooming and will make a huge impact to a potential employer. A scruffy beard will almost certainly paint you as a slacker, even if that's not the case. If you must keep facial hair, make sure it is short and neatly groomed. Stay away from unusual or overly trendy facial hair styles until you've landed the gig. The beauty of facial hair is that it's relativity easy and fast to grow back.

The Wardrobe:
Just like the hair, when dressing for a job interview, it's best to go conservative. Keep it clean, pressed, and neutral. Find out, if you can, the dress code for the company you're interviewing with and dress appropriately. Never overdress your potential boss and don't go too trendy. Daniel Billet, our Guide to Men's Fashion, offers up some great tips on dressing for a job interview.

The Interview:
In addition to being prepared, well dressed, and clean shaven, it' s important to approach a job interview with confidence and armed with all the tools you need to give a great impression. Allison Doyle, our Guide to Job Searching, offers hundreds of tips on finding and interviewing for jobs to help increase your chances of success.

Of course, we all want to look great and let our personal style show through, but during the critical job interview process, it's important to remain as well groomed and neutral as possible. You want to look good while not letting your grooming habits or personal style cause a potential employer to form a negative opinion of you. In a perfect world, we would all get to go to work dressed as we please with the type of haircut that makes us feel great. The reality is that doing so rarely works to our advantage, so we have to compromise in order to get a great job. The upside is that a haircut and clean shave are never permanent, so once we've established ourselves as indispensable to our employer, we can often let our personal style transition its way back in.

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