IT'S ALL FREE! LNC Fashion Faux Pas

I thought I had seen it all. Bad breath, funny hair, poppy seeds in teeth, tattoos on knuckles.  A lot of legal nurse consultant applicants don't know the basics of dressing for an interview. But a colleague who also interviews prospective LNCs topped me. She interviewed an applicant who was dressed in shorts and flip-flops.

You don't have to be a fashion maven to interview for a position in a law firm. But you DO need to know the basics of grooming, dress and hygiene. In law firms, a fashion faux pas could be the difference between landing a job or not.  Don't let this happen to you!

In addition to the interview process, LNC applicants are judged by their appearance. As a rule, law firms are very conservative businesses so you'll want to dress in a subdued manner.  When LNCs present themselves in a less than professional way, the interviewer remembers the peculiarities, not the skills, of the interviewee. Interviewers who see an undesirable trait may also project their concerns about this trait to the position responsibilities. "If he can't even shine his shoes, how is he going to pay attention to detail when he reviews a case?"  So let's look at some fashion faux pas, why they could hurt you, and ways to prevent them from occurring.

Fashion Faux Pas Why Do This Instead
Ill-fitting clothing - too short, too long, too tight, too loose Clothing that's too loose makes you look frumpy or sloppy. And you won't be taken seriously if you wear tight-fitting clothing or short skirts. Women - wear a pants suit or skirt suit. Knee length skirts are best. (The skirt can be at the top of the knee, the middle, or the bottom of the knee.)

Men - Wear a suit (preferably) or a sport coat.
Piercings, tattoos Not everyone appreciates your body art. Plus a tribal tattoo or one of Tweety Bird doesn't exactly scream professionalism. Cover all tattoos with clothing or body makeup. Wear only one earring per ear. Skip nose rings, lip and eyebrow studs and other visible piercings.
Smelly (body odor, too much perfume or aftershave) Body odor is offensive. So is perfume or cologne if your interviewer is allergic or just doesn't like the smell. Wear deodorant. Don't wear perfume, even a little, even if you think it smells great. Really.
Nails too long, dirty, ragged, or unusual color. If your nails are dirty and/or jagged, your work may be perceived as sloppy too.

Blood-red three-inch nails look like scary talons. Green nails with stars and hearts and unicorns will make you look immature.
Keep nails clean, short, polished in a neutral color, manicured.
Too much jewelry You may have an emotional connection to your jewelry but your interviewers do not. Wearing every piece of jewelry that you own to an interview is akin to a bag lady wearing every piece of clothing that she possesses. Women - Use the rule of one - no more than one ring per hand, one bracelet, one necklace, one earring per ear, one watch. That's seven items total.

Men - A ring and a watch are enough jewelry to wear to an interview.
Cleavage, clothing that's too revealing Skimpy clothing is perfectly proper in some settings, such as the beach or a nightclub. For an interview in a law firm, you're better off covering up. Button your blouse. Even better, wear a blouse with a neckline that's higher than your cleavage.

Don't wear skirts with big slits in the sides or front.  A kick pleat in the back doesn't count as a slit.
Toe cleavage Open-toe shoes, peep-toe shoes, and sandals are all too casual for an interview. Wear closed-toe shoes. Pumps are ideal.
Makeup that's glittery or garish Red lipstick and glitter are more suitable for a nightclub. Use neutral shades of blush and lipstick. Don't use any type of makeup that glints or glitters.
Bad hair Hair that hasn't been trimmed or styled, dirty hair, hair that has different colored roots than the rest of it Get your hair trimmed, styled, and/or colored, if necessary. Men - trim facial hair.
Unclean teeth Food stuck in teeth is unappetizing. This is an easy one. Brush your teeth before the interview. And don't eat anything with poppy seeds.
No socks, wrong color socks, no hose For guys, white socks or light-colored socks are too casual. For gals, bare legs are becoming acceptable. Men - wear dark socks.

Women - If you wear hose, choose a color that's close to your skin tone.
Scuffed shoes Scuffed shoes give the impression that you don't care about your appearance and don't pay much attention to detail. Polish and shine your shoes.
Using your cell phone during an interview. (I know this isn't a fashion faux pas, but this trait bugs me more than anything during an interview. I remember one applicant who answered her cell phone four times during her interview!  She didn't get the job.) What phone call could be more important than your job interview? It's disrespectful to answer a phone or to see who's calling during an interview. When you get to the building where your interview's being held, turn the cell phone off. If for some reason you're unable to do this and the phone rings, apologize and turn it off without looking at the caller ID.

Dressed like you're meant to have the job, you're now ready to interview at a law firm.  When you to your interview, be sure to arm yourself with great answers to interview questions. You're going to ace that interview!

...Katy Jones