The role of an administrative assistant is complex and detailed. It is a diverse profession, which gives you the opportunity to work in a variety of environments. All industries need administrative help and search for the right candidates to fit the culture. This makes preparing for an administrative assistant interview challenging because you often interview in unfamiliar environments, and the wardrobe standards vary widely. However, with some research and applied color psychology, you will shine in your interview.
Interviewing in a corporate environment calls for a suit. Whether you choose to wear a skirt or a pair of pants doesn't matter as long as either fits well. Wear navy blue or gray with a contrasting blouse that adds a pop of color, preferably yellow as it represents optimism and happiness. If you are not comfortable wearing yellow, you have other options. Red implies ambition but can also symbolize anger, so be careful in displaying this color. Purple implies balance. Orange has an anti-depressant effect, but some argue against this color because of its boldness. Do your research into the company's culture if you choose a risky color. Remember, a corporate administrative assistant position is also a marketing position, and you're the billboard. Executives want you to be professional to a flaw, yet warm enough to create good vibes with potential customers and clients.
The standard term for a successful wardrobe in retail is called fashion forward. Employers want to see their employees choose a progressive style. Interviewing for an administrative assistant position in this field will vary depending on current trends and type of market the store caters to. If you are unsure how to dress for this type of interview, wear a button-up blouse that you can easily transform from formal to casual by undoing one button and rolling up your sleeves. Choose a color that represents the season.
Jobs considered blue collar might have highly informal business operations. For example, many body shops and collision-repair garages have more oil stains on the floors than chairs for people to sit on. These types of establishments need administrative assistants who won't be afraid of a little grease. Wear casual pants in a neutral color, low heels and a button-up blouse. Avoid jeans. Even in the most casual of environments, jeans are never acceptable in a job interview. Keep in mind that if you are interviewing for an administrative assistant position for a blue-collar company of a nationwide chain, the standards might be more formal, so do your research. Gray is a good interview color for these types of jobs because this color speaks of independence; many small garages have limited office help and you might carry the load. Pair your shirt with a simple necklace of a happier color to balance gray's rigid feel.
When interviewing for hospital administrative position, wear a crisp, white collared shirt free of stains. Health care settings are known for their cleanliness; white gives you a clean look. Wear pleated pants in darker neutral color. If you feel too monotone for the interview, add a simple accessory in a violet hue or another calmer color, such as pink. These colors evoke a sense of peace and nurturing.
No matter what the field, there are certain norms that are standard for all administrative assistant interviews. Dress one level up from the standard dress of the job. Keep your hair out of your eyes and away from your face. Be natural as managers want their administrative assistants to be genuine. Avoid fake eyelashes and colored contacts. Keep jewelry and makeup to a minimum. Wear closed-toe shoes. Research and use your best judgment when deciding whether to wear black. If you choose to, consider pairing your black attire with another color to soften its look.
- Administrative Assistant
- Administrative Assistant Job Description
- CBS News: What Should I Wear to a Job Interview?
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- Work Life Group: Dressing for Success – Does the Color of Your Clothing Really Make a Difference?
- Creative Counseling 101: Using Color Psychology
- Monster: Dress for Interview Success
Michelle Dwyer is a U.S. Army veteran writing fiction and nonfiction since 2003. She specializes in business, careers, leadership, military affairs and organizational change and behavior. Dwyer received an MBA from Tarleton State University/Texas A&M Central Texas and an MFA in creative writing from National University in La Jolla, Calif.