The Beauty of Interviews

Posted November 6, 2012 by Katherine Toll in Life After Five

This morning as I prepare for a job interview, thoughts rattle through my head: What questions shall I ask? Have I done a thorough job of researching the company? What if I don’t get the job? What if I do? What color lipstick shall I wear? Or, should I wear lip-gloss? Brown liner or black? Oh my God, my nails are a mess! How did I miss that?

And the internal chatter just keeps on coming. (I carry on wonderfully complex conversations amongst my selves.) Panic sets in as I realize perfection, as I define it, eludes me ONCE AGAIN. Who cares if my nails are manicured or not?

I do. And others do, too. Don’t kid yourself.  Your mother was right when she said, “You never get a second chance to make a first impression.” Indeed, according to Malcom Gladwell, author of the bestselling Blink, “There can be as much value in the blink of the eye as in months of rational analysis.”

Hence, when I have an occasion like a job interview, I tend to obsess about tiny details. Perhaps it’s my way of managing my stress: overseeing (controllable) details instead of fretting over someone else’s blink-of-an-eye opinion of me. So, the upside of my obsession? I developed a killer must-have list of beauty tips that every Career Girl needs.

(For the sake of brevity, I assumed you conducted your interview homework, your resume looks impeccable, and you’re groomed and dressed appropriately. And, this is no time to test-drive new products or colors. Save that for another day.)

That said, let’s move on to my line up of interview (fade-proof) must-haves:

  • It deserves (and will have) its own separate post, BUT a pristine canvas makes for a beautiful painting. In other words, your make-up looks as good as your skin allows it. Treat it well – you only get one. More on that next week.
  • It’s not uncommon to have a full day of interviews with a variety of people. Start with a foundation primer even if you don’t wear foundation. It smooths over skin imperfections and holds the rest of your make up in place throughout the day. You can’t go wrong with Smashbox’s Photo Finish Foundation Primer. (There is an oil-free version, too.)
  • A great eye shadow base keeps your shadow and liner in tact. I love Nar’s Pro-Prime Smudge Proof Eyeshadow Base. It’s one of the few products I re-purchase. Any shadow wears longer with this underneath it.
  • To be safe, use budge proof eyeliner, as well. Keep it neutral, unless you’re interviewing in a creative environment. Hands down, the best out there is Revlon Colorstay Eyeliner Crème Gel. I’ve tested them all. Super easy to apply, even if you struggle with liner application (as I do).
  • Choose a neutral, long wear lip color — my new favorite is Hourglass’s Opaque Rouge Liquid Lipstick. Try Canvas for the perfect interview color. If you prefer a moister lip color, try Urban Decay’s Super Saturated High Gloss Lip Color in Naked.
  • Finish with a fade-proof blush like Nar’s Dolce Vita. Almost anyone can wear this shade, and it wears like iron.
  • A final note – nail color. Chipped nails make me crazy. Either wear a perfect manicure, or go bare. Details matter!

While I realize the perfect eyeliner won’t land any of us a job, it certainly helps me face the questions that await me with a bit more confidence.  All that’s left now? A deep breath, squared shoulders, and fingers crossed!

About the Author

Katherine Toll

Katherine (Kathi) Toll possesses more than 20 years of management and consulting experience within the retail and beauty industry. Her industry experience combined with her special brand of irreverence fuels her mission to find the ‘must-have’ beauty products for Career Girls of all ages. She aspires to remind women the airbrushed perfection of the beauty industry must be tempered with a healthy dose of humor. Kathi holds a general management certification from Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management, along with an undergraduate degree from Northwestern’s School of Communications.