Although job-related skills an experience rank high in importance in whether or not you land the position, during the initial hiring process they have less power than most of us think. That's because the first thing we notice about someone is their appearance, and more specifically, the way they are dressed.
According to a study by Frank Bernieri, Ph.D., an associate professor of psychology at Oregon State University, within the first 10 seconds of meeting your interviewer--otherwise known as the meet-and-greet--that person has decided whether or not you're right for the job. Those who come across as polished and pulled together are quite simply more likely to be hired than those who are seen as putting in less effort.
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According to Bernieri, dressing the wrong way is equivalent to the worst social faux pas: "like picking your nose during an interview." And with last month's unemployment rate for women age 20 and older at 7.9%--the latest data available from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics--the competition alone should provide impetus to ace your interview.
When it comes to dressing for an interview, the consensus is that conservative is best. "Dressing conservatively means you care on a couple of different dimensions," notes Bernieri. "One, you're making an effort; two, you're making an effort not to offend; three you're polite and respectful."
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