How to Choose Job Interview Accessories

Woman going to interview with portfolio
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Most people know it's essential to wear appropriate attire to a job interview, but your accessories matter, too. These small extras to your outfit — your shoes, bag, jewelry, etc. — make a visual impact and add to the impression you make on your interviewer. 

How to Choose the Right Accessories for Your Job Interview

When wearing accessories to an interview, follow the classic rule: Less is more. 

Avoid overdoing the number of items you wear (that is, you don't need to wear both a big, bold statement necklace and a fashion scarf). It's also important to choose accessories that will enhance your interview attire, not overwhelm it. 

Keep your cologne and perfume to a minimum, maintain a professional hairstyle and, if applicable, natural makeup, and don't overdo the jewelry.

Thoughtfully chosen accessories tie an outfit together, and help you look confident and professional, so do spend some time considering what works with your chosen interview outfit. 

Here are tips for determining suitable accessories to wear at your interview. 

Women should avoid dangling earrings and arms full of bracelets, and men should wear little or no jewelry other than a watch and/or wedding band. No jewelry is better than cheap or loud jewelry. 

When it comes to piercings and tattoos, depending on where you are interviewing, you may want to consider covering your tattoos and taking out your rings.

Don't wear a hat to a job interview regardless of the type of job you are applying for. That includes winter hats, baseball hats, and even fashion hats. (Religious headwear, like a yarmulke, hijab, or any other head covering that you typically wear, is an exception and can be worn to interviews.) 

On a related note, don't wear hoodies or any other type of sweatshirt or sweatpants. Also be aware of some of the other things that you shouldn't wear to a job interview.

Stay away from overly casual shoes, like flip-flops or sneakers. You won't make a good impression. Also avoid really high heels and platform shoes. Closed-toe pumps in a neutral color are best for women, and for men, slip-on or lace-up dress shoes are the best bet.

If your pants or slacks have belt loops, wear a belt to tie your outfit together. Your belt should match your outfit and/or your shoes and bag.

The question of whether women should wear pantyhose on a job interview tends to create a lot of discussion, but the consensus tends to land on yes. Since you won't know how the person you're interviewing with feels about hose, it's best to opt for the more conservative option. 

Hair and Makeup
Less is more when it comes to hair and makeup. Be subtle and don't overdo it. Keep your hairstyle simple, as well, with no scrunchies or big hair clips. The same holds true for nail polish. Your nails shouldn't be overly long and your nail polish shouldn't be too bright a color; you don't want the interviewer to even notice your nail color. Review these job interview makeup do's and don'ts, and some of the best interview hairstyles for women.

Perfume and Cologne
Just as you should dress somewhat conservatively during an interview, you should also be conservative with your perfume or cologne. Some people are more sensitive to smell than others. In fact, scent is one of the strongest senses; your favorite perfume or cologne might be the same scent the interviewer's ex-girlfriend or ex-husband wore.

Don't let subliminal negative impact ruin your chances at getting a job. Use perfume or cologne sparingly (or consider skipping it completely). 

Portfolio / Purse
A portfolio is a great accessory. You can use it to store extra copies of your resume and your list of references. Or, you may want to consider a large purse or a small briefcase that can hold all your belongings, plus what you need for the interview. Stick to neutral colors, regardless of which option you select.

If you can leave your jacket in your car, do so. It's easier than having someone hang up your coat then having to retrieve it after the interview. If not, opt for a coat that's appropriate for the office — a wool coat, for instance, is a better option than a ski parka. 

Choose Accessories to Suit the Industry

Before you leave your home, take a look in the mirror and assess your outfit. Ideally, your accessories will be subtle and compliment your whole look. Gear your appearance for the job and industry at hand. For instance, if you are working for a political office, there are different norms that if you're applying for a role doing fashion public relations.