A week doesn’t go by without someone asking me this question, “I have an interview, what should I wear?” Sounds pretty simple, right? It is and it isn’t. On the surface, it is extremely simple to recommend the traditional approach to interview attire. I should tell everyone to wear a blue suit and leave well enough alone, but that’s not how I roll. I’m a girl who believes you gotta let the outside reflect what’s on the inside. Anita Baker recorded a song entitled, “Giving You the Best that I’ve Got.” This is how you should go into the interview….giving them the best that you’ve got. But what on earth does that mean? Let me give you the rundown based on what ‘they’ say. By the way, if you Google Anita Baker, the song has nothing to do with careers, but the title fits!

A few years ago there was an article written in the Business Insider focusing on the best colors to wear during an interview. The article was a result of a survey taken by over 2,000 hiring managers and human resource professionals. I wasn’t particularly impressed (I’ll tell you why in a minute), but I was entertained. Here is the long and short of the perception color portrays based on the survey.

Blue                                                 Team player

Black                                                Leadership

White                                               Organized

Gray                                                  Logical & analytical

Red                                                    Power

Brown                                               Dependable

Green, Yellow, Orange, Purple    Creative

While these colors may have validity, they won’t guarantee that you’ll land the job. So, go ahead and give em the blues. Give em the black, white, gray, red, brown, green, yellow, orange and purple while you’re at it. (Whew, I’m out of breathe!)

Let’s face it, there are no guarantees. None. But you’ll have a better chance of landing the job if you show up wearing Confidence! Show up happy. Show up rested. Show up before time (at least 15 minutes). Show up prepared. Make sure your resume is without mistakes, makeup, coffee, ink marks, etc. There is no need to go overboard on the paper. I suggest you use paper with a little weight to it, but not too thick. (Psst, no more pink, blue, green paper. Cut it out!) And by all means, practice your responses to commonly asked interview questions. There are tons and tons of resources out there. You can Google “The most effective interview questions” and you’ll have more resources than you can handle. Here’s the link to a good one to start with:

Listen, my experience as a recruiter in the corporate world taught me some valuable lessons. One of the greatest lessons learned then and now, as a consultant is employers want the real you. Sure, they’re interested in your experience, education, skill set, ability to get along well with others, et cetera, but they are most interested in a team member who is genuine, engaged and committed to becoming their ‘best self.’ Trust me, I’m not living in a fantasy. They all want this, but have difficulty communicating it. That’s where I come in. I consult with CEOs to help them change the culture of their organizations by learning how to properly articulate what’s wanted and needed in the workplace while ensuring people are respected and valued on every level. How cool is that?

Stay tuned. I’ll share some juicy tips on some of the best ways to leave a lasting impression, before, during and after the interview.

Paula Michelle is a people person extraordinaire! She’s an HR professional with over 20+ years under her belt. She’s a motivational speaker, adjunct professor, career/life coach, author and corporate trainer. She loves empowering others to win!!!