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How to Do Your Nails for a Job Interview

May 03, 2019

There isn't much that can help dispel the stress created by a looming job interview, but having great nails certainly can't make it any worse. After all, as you sit in front of your potential new boss, the last thing you—or they—need to be thinking about is the state of your hands and nails. Instead, we think the best possible thing you can do is make sure you're equipped with a gorgeous manicure the night before the interview. Chances are you’ve already put some thought into your interview makeup look and your outfit, so take a few minutes and do the same for your nails. But, what color to wear? Listen up: Now is not the time for glitter or bold hues. Here, learn how to do your nails for a job interview.


Before we get to choosing your color, give your hands some extra love and attention. When you reach out to shake the hand of your prospective employer, you don’t want them to notice that they’re dull and rough, do you? No way! Whether you like it or not, the person (or people) interviewing you will be judging you on your appearance in addition to your resume. To give them every reason to think you're calm, cool, and collected, your hands shouldn't bear any signs of chipped nail polish, bitten nails, dry skin, or chewed up fingers.

Before the big day, make sure your hands are well moisturized, your cuticles are pushed back neatly, and your nails are filed smoothly. For an occasion like this, a rounded tip is probably the best nail shape. It's classic, chic, and elegant—just how good interview nails should be! Here’s what to do:

Step #1: Exfoliate

Slough off those dead, dull skin cells by exfoliating your hands with a sugar scrub. Simply rub a dollop of the scrub over your hands for thirty seconds or so, then rinse with warm water.

Step #2: Moisturize

Immediately after you rinse off the scrub, reach for your favorite hand moisturizer. Apply a generous amount while your hands are still damp. Need a rec? We love the L’Oréal Paris Age Perfect Hydra Nutrition Manuka Honey All Over Balm - Face/Neck/Chest/Hands. Bonus: You can use it on your face, neck, and chest too!

Step #3: Gently Push Back Your Cuticles

Using a cuticle pusher or your fingers, gently—very gently—push back each of your cuticles. Once you’ve given your hands the pampering they deserve, it’s time to move on to choosing your nail polish color.


Chances are prospective employers won’t be as impressed as they should be by your love of glitter and bold hues, so it's best to go for a more low-key look. Leave the quirky nail art at home for the weekend! At the same time, it's always a good idea to coordinate your nails with your outfit or even your lip color. This doesn't necessarily mean pairing a black outfit with black nails. Instead, choose an understated polish color that works well with what you're wearing. Any nude or light pink shade is perfectly acceptable. If you do want a bolder look, go for a classic color, such as pink or red. If you really feel like adding a little extra color to your look, you could pair your pink or red nails with a lipstick in a similar shade.


Once you've chosen your nail polish, here’s what to do:


In order to help your nail polish go on smoothly and evenly, you’ll definitely want to start with a base coat. Swipe a thin layer onto each nail, then wait until all your nails are totally dry before moving on to the next step.


Once your base coat is dry, you’re ready to apply your color of choice. Paint a thin coat onto each nail, then wait a minute or two before going back for a second coat. If your polish looks a little streaky, follow up with another coat for a more opaque finish.


Surely you won’t want to put in all this thought and work, only for your nails to chip before you even arrive at the interview! Your final step is to apply a top coat, which will help prevent chipping and also give a glossy finish to your manicure.


Your nails are painted, but what’s a gal to do if she doesn’t have totally steady hands? If you made any mistakes while polishing, don’t stress. Grab a small paint brush and dip it into acetone. Run the brush along your cuticles and the skin around your nails to clean up any polish that didn’t make it onto your nails. Ta-da, you’re practically a pro! Smooth on a little cuticle oil and your mani will definitely look as if it came courtesy of a nail salon.

And that’s it, your nails are all set for the big interview! Now, don’t forget eye contact and a firm handshake. Best of luck!

Next up: Once your nails are set, make sure you’ve got everything else in check. Here’s How to Do Your Hair and Makeup for an Interview.

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