What’s Your Makeup Look for a Job Interview?

October 5, 2009

Anyone looking for a job or career change? Those of you who are will most likely be familiar with the excitement of finally getting an interview but also know the anxiety of having to go through the process.

It’s nerve-wracking being evaluated on your skills and competencies from a grilling 30-90 minute interview. The best thing I feel I can can do is be prepared to the best I can and be confident about it. For me, a key part of feeling confident is feeling comfortable and looking my best. I like to keep it simple, polished and professional. But, each time, I still go through a “what should I wear?” moment, so I stick to basics and neutrals and avoid new things and lots of shimmer at all costs.

I’d like to open it up to my readers and ask you what is your interview face?

Tell me:
* What types of jobs have you been looking for (corporate, finance, marketing, retail, fine arts etc.)?
* Do you have any tips or techniques or a go-to look that you feel worked for you for interviews?
* What are your favorite colors (specific brands and shades) you like to use?
* If you’re on the employer side – any tips or input from you? What are some no-no’s?

One upside to having gone through several interviews is being able to observe how your interviewers dress and present themselves. This has helped give me some guidelines on how to dress and what not to wear. Here is what I wore to a recent interview with a Jcrew Navy Pinstipe Suit, cream scoopneck sweater-shirt, black closed-toe pumps (for corporate finance type position):

Face: Nars Sheer Matte Foundation in Punjab
Chanel Double Perfection Powder Foundation in Tender Bisque dusted very lightly
Le Metier Fresh Blush + Whisper Highlighter for a barely-there blush

Eyes: Bobbi Brown Malted Cream Eyeshadow
Nars Abyssinia Single Eyeshadow dusted lightly over 3/4 of the eye
Le Metier Milan Eyeshadow to contour softly (blended so there was no visible line)
Dolce & Gabbana Coffee Liner smudged with Nars Bali (for a soft defined liner, again no visible defined line)
Diorshow Iconic Waterproof (just to define the lashes)

Lips: MAC Sublime Culture Lipliner
Chanel Ming Rouge Allure Laque

My husband gave me his approval before I left the house. What do you think?

I know it’s not the makeup they should notice, but rather the applicant – but there still requires some planning and thought for getting that “no-makeup look,” of course with makeup. I’d love to hear what colors and products you use for your interviews!

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  • I still remember my interview "face" from 12 years ago πŸ˜€

    All Bobbi Brown (I only wore BB back then.)

    Toasted Pink Lipstick
    Sand Pink Blush
    Bone eyeshadow
    Taupe eyeshadow
    Mahogany eyeshadow to line.

    I was a good Bobbi girl, and 12 years on, that look would still work for an interview

  • I work in the marketing field. Although I like bright or dark looks more than neutral, I once heard after having been hired that another candidate had been excluded because she was wearing long acrylic nails painted in purple. And although I think it's stupid, well it shows that kind of details matter.
    So I stick to neutrals when I go on a interview, a nice lipstick that doesn't show too much and a nailpolish that won't scare anybody. But I also make sure the company environment is not too conservative, and once I am hired and have been there long enough to prove I am competent, I don't restrain myself anymore. My current colleagues have seen me with black smokys or fushia lids πŸ™‚

  • Oh and I forgot to say I think your choice is excellent πŸ™‚

  • I am in HR – both freelance recruitment and contracts- and from my point of view here are a few tips;

    1. Less is more. Don't distract me with huge earrings or crazy neon eyecolours. I want to be able to listen to what you say, not stare in disbelief at "creative" details.

    2. Always prepare by getting all the grooming stuff done so you can focus on the interview(s). If you're sitting there freaking out over your unwashed hair, poorly managed nails or wheter your lipstick needs re-touching I'll notice.

    3. A little goes a long way. Make sure your nails are kept short (there is no workplace other than nail salons that appreciate claws). Hair must not be kept in a "school-techer bun" but if it's very "crazy" or frizzy it'll help if you hold it in place. Also if your hair is very long (think Nell from Ally Mc Beal) you'll want to wear it up. Clothes that are freshly washed and ironed looks great, no need to flip out over labels, just work what you've got.

    4. Neutral MU is always a safe bet. Like the look posted here; classic and complimentary; bringing out the fresh awake face that says "I'm a professional! Hire me!". If you fins a particular colour makes your eyes pop; use it. Steer clear of too much glitter, gooey gloss and extreme amounts of powder.

    5. Take a minute before the interview to check that you have your fly zipped up, no mud on shoes, no embarrassing stuff on teeth or sweaty pits. You're gonna feel better knowing you look good.
    Also related to this; be on time. Nothing worse than running late and having all that composed interior wrecked by MU slipping off, aftersweat, flushed cheeks, stains on clothes etc.

    Good luck! πŸ™‚