|  November 25, 2013

What nail polish colors are appropriate for interviews?

This will be a short and sweet post, but people have asked me in the past about what nail polish colors are appropriate for interviews so I wanted to share my opinion (knowing that this is a very subjective one).

Your nail polish color (like any other “accessory”) is an extension of your overall presentation in an interview. My theory about how you present yourself for job interviews is that there is no “one size fits all” answer. The best thing to do is to take into account the industry, company, and most importantly, office environment.

So my advice for nail polish color goes something like this…

nail polish color for interviews

In conservative office environments:

For offices with business formal dress codes (Investment Banks, Law Firms, etc.) go with a very neutral polish or a mild pink. Ballet Slippers by Essie was one of my go-tos back when I worked at an Investment Bank. If you’re wearing a suit, that trendy neon polish probably isn’t the right choice.

Some other great options for business formal environments: Adore-a-Ball + Sand Tropez (basically anything very light and sheer that almost looks like no polish at all)

In business casual office environments:

While you may not need to wear a full suit to the interview, and have a little more flexibility when it comes to accessories (including nail color) don’t get too crazy here either. It’s still a good idea to stick with neutrals and don’t go too dark or too bright.

A few examples: Master Plan (a little darker, yet neutral option) or Figi (a light, but opaque pink)

In the fashion & creative industries:

In these industries I think the guidelines are much more liberal. If something is on-trend, I suppose it’s fair game. However, just because there is more room for fun, remember that your polish should never be so loud that it distracts from what you’re sharing with your interviewer.

My favorite in this category is Chinchilly which I wear throughout the entire fall and winter.

If you’re interviewing for any “hands-on” jobs:

I’m not sure what the rules are on this one but I’d imagine if you’re applying for a job where you’re really using your hands (I’m thinking chefs, doctors, and other such roles) you probably shouldn’t have any polish on at all. Clean, clear nails seem like the best bet here (I hear this product is amazing but haven’t tried it yet).


Some nail polish colors really shouldn’t be worn to interviews, period. Even though your interviewer might not even notice, my suggestion is to stay away from sparkles, neons, stripes, most nail art, and anything else that seems more appropriate for New Years Eve.

You want to keep your interviewer focused on what you’re actually saying instead of being distracted by what’s on your nails!

Are you preparing for a job interview? Check out our downloadable interview prep workbook here!


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