How to pick jewelry for an interview – 8 dos and don’ts

by Aug 15, 20143Plus, Career, Workplace

How to pick jewelry for an interview.

Diamonds are a girls’ best friend…. but are they in an interview?

The interview process for women is riddled with unconscious gender bias. A woman’s appearance ranks number 3 in the selection process compared to a man, where it is ranked at number 9. Jennifer is a senior manager in the banking sector. She prides herself on her professional, elegant grooming and tasteful accessories and is always careful on how to pick jewelry for an interview as well as other accessories. She was therefore more than a little astonished when a (male) interviewer commented that she “didn’t look as if she was starving.”  He clearly hadn’t read8 things you should know about interviewing women” 

What could this mean she asked herself?

  • She has a weight problem?  As she is very  slim and trim she assumed this was not a comment on her BMI.
  • She looked as if she didn’t need a job because she could  afford to pay her grocery bill

Further discussion revealed that she had been wearing diamond earrings. She wondered if these best friend baubles could have provoked such an inappropriate comment.  Not everyone supports the “anything goes” attitude. If your interviewer is an inverted snob with an “I’ve come up the hard way” mantra, expensive jewelry can make the wearer conspicuous and a source of envy.  Alternatively the social snob from more old-fashioned circles, might even consider diamonds inappropriate day time wear.

Besides, should a candidate need to look desperate to the point of starvation to be considered for a new job?

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How to pick jewelry for an interview – 8 dos and don’ts

  1. Do wear jewelry that sends an authoritative message, but doesn’t detract from the main performer which should be you.
  2. Do wear small, conservative pieces.  Necklaces should be discreet and rings should be inconspicuous, unless you are interviewing in the fashion sector. Don’t wear pieces that are large, noisy or distracting.
  3. Do wear a small number of pieces: less is really more
  4. Do avoid the knuckle duster look with multiple rings per hand, with the exception of a wedding bands and engagement rings
  5. Don’t wear jewelry with political, religious or insignia depicting any movement or lobby. You are interviewing for a job not conducting a campaign. We also should also be mindful that none of us know the affiliations of anyone who might be interviewing us. You might be pro-hunting, but your interviewer could be a vegetarian.
  6. Don’t wear plastic- stick to real precious metals and stones. These classic pieces will always communicate sophistication.
  7. Don’t wear jewelry in multiple piercings, nose, ears, mouth or tongue. Your navel should not be on view anyway even for life guard roles.
  8. Do co-ordinate – fashions change, but the focus should be on you and not on any fashion faux pas you might make with clashing jewelry styles
  9. Do be cautious about expensive pieces. You never know the background of the person who is interviewing you.

Possibly the best lesson was that Jennifer dodged a bullet and the organisation in questions needs to do some unconscious bias training.  Who knows what else was lurking below the corporate surface. Check out our corporate services here.



What do you think? Take our poll. Are diamonds a girl’s best friend in an interview?

Dorothy Dalton Administrator
Dorothy Dalton is CEO of 3Plus International. A specialist in diversity and bias conscious executive search, she supports organizations to achieve business success via gender balance, diversity and inclusion. She is CIPD qualified, and a certified coach and trainer including digital learning.
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