What to wear for the interview can keep medical sales job seekers up at night because it’s so subjective. It’s not like other hard-and-fast rules of interviewing, like “always bring your 30-60-90-day plan,” or “always close for the job.” But your interview attire is just as important as those things. How you dress for your first meeting creates an impression of you in the hiring manager’s mind and sets the tone for your future interactions. Many a candidate with excellent sales skills and credentials has been undermined by a less-than-professional image they created by what they wore to the interview. On the other hand, dressing well for the interview shows the hiring manager how you’re going to represent his company. What image are you projecting to the hiring manager?

A recent survey of medical sales managers conducted by PHC Consulting finds that hiring managers want candidates who understand how to project a professional image: one that’s both conservative and stylish. Looks are very important in medical sales, so the candidate who demonstrates his or her grasp of that gets more points in the interview.

What specifically did they say?

Over 50% of hiring managers expect men to wear a full suit (90% expect a tie), and about 30% of them prefer women to wear a skirted suit. But 78% of them say that whether a woman wears a skirted suit or a pants suit makes no difference in their hiring decision. What’s most important is that the candidate be comfortable, conservative, professional, and confident. But, they believe that suits in general show your respect for the interview, and your attitude toward the job.

The details of your appearance matter a great deal. Almost 60% of interviewers notice the condition of a candidate’s shoes. Women who wear heels that are too high tend to be viewed negatively. Over 90% notice jewelry (less is more), portfolios (need to be of decent quality, in good condition), and perfume/cologne (35% have rejected a candidate for wearing too much scent). Hairstyles must be clean, well-maintained, and polished. Male candidates are much better off with a “clean-cut” look. Facial hair affects the evaluation of candidates for 82% of the interviewers.

What are mistakes candidates make? Wrinkled clothes, too-tight suits, “trashy” outfits, chewing gum, cuss words, pushy personalities, too much eye contact (or too little), or clothes that are so uncomfortable the candidate fidgets his or her way through the interview.

So you see, appearances that attract negative attention detract from your message, which is why you’re the best person for the job. Professional, polished candidates are able to keep the focus of the interview where it belongs, and they are the ones who get the offer.

Author's Bio: 

Peggy McKee has over 15 years of experience in laboratory sales, medical sales management, medical sales recruiting, and job interview/career coaching. She is the owner of PHC Consulting, http://www.phcconsulting.com, a nationally-recognized medical sales recruiting firm.
Peggy offers one-on-one interview coaching and counseling to help you land the job you want. She can teach you specific, effective techniques honed by years of experience with thousands of candidates. There is a trick to it, but it’s easier than you think. Find out more at http://www.phcconsulting.com/interview-coaching/.