Fact: 70% of employers say applicants were too trendy while attending an interview.
Fact: This goes for all forms of trendy. From the clothes that you wear to the lingo you use during your interview, everything needs to have a balance.
Lets start with attire. What should you be wearing to an interview? Here’s the dilemma – you want to be dressed up, always, but is there such thing as too dressed up? Believe it or not, hiring managers let their first impression of you weight heavily on their decision. Sad, we know, but we live in a judgmental world – especially when it comes to our attire. It’s true that it’s always better to be too dressed up than not enough, but you can do this without being extravagant. Keep your clothing less bold and colorful and more reserved and plain. You can show your unique personality through your choices, but always choose the more toned down version.
Moving onto lingo – this goes for all the language you use in all senses – career specific terminology as well as the urban trends. Avoid using “like” too much and never ever say “dope”, “rad”, “wicked”, and whatever other terms you may use with your friends. It’s just all around unprofessional. When it comes to career specific terminology, things get a little tricky. This is another area where balance is key. You want to show the hiring manager that you are a master in your field but you don’t want to come off as a big shot who is pushing the limits. In some cases, your hiring manager might not even know what you’re referring to, especially if it comes to detailed coding, etc. so keep things light yet smart.
Past lingo and attire, we are even going to touch upon the pen and notebook you bring (yes, you should be bringing this to an interview… for more on being prepared, read this blog post: How to Prepare for an Interview). This, like your attire, should be even more subtle. Your soccer ball notebook and floral pen should be left at home.
Overall, there’s one standard message that applies here: keep it simple (but not stupid). You want most things other than your personality to be subtle, and even then, that should be impressionable but not overbearing. It’s all about having a good balance.