Prepping for a job interview can be a bit overwhelming. As always, you want to put your best foot forward both personally and professionally—and for many, that means leaving no detail unturned, including your fingertips. Regardless of the nail shade or style you choose, remember that there’s no such thing as an "unprofessional" nail look. Creativity and individuality are valued in workplaces, and any qualified hiring manager shouldn't judge a candidate by their nails. With that being said, if you're looking for some manicure inspiration that will help you feel confident and polished, then look no further. Ahead, we've rounded up 15 nail looks to wear to your interview and beyond.
Nails That Speak to Your Industry
To show your appreciation of the industry you're in, have fun with a manicure that features some element of the job. "I'm the social media manager for an aquarium," says Starr, 27. "When I was hiring an assistant, I interviewed a candidate who had a seashell design on her nails. I hired her because she was qualified and not because of her manicure, but it made me think, 'wow, she loves marine life so much that it's all over her nails.'"
"I celebrate self-expression—so [a manicure] would never impact negatively on my decision," says Charli, 26, a creative director. "I would, of course, notice colors that were more in line with the brand, which is quite androgynous. So a blue, black, or neutral rather than a pink, red or glitter would immediately feel 'on brand' to me."
Pretty Pop of Foil
One way to show that you're willing to go the extra mile is to get a manicure that matches the company's branding. "Our logo includes these chic glints of gold," says Elle, 55, a realtor. "So I'm always impressed by candidates that incorporate a bit of our company culture into their style."
In color psychology, green is thought to invoke feelings of tranquility and good luck, making it a perfect shade to kick pre-interview jitters. "Boss nails come in whatever shape and color make you feel the most confident," adds Nikki, an HR executive. "Paint your nails in the way you want to be seen—confident and valuable."
Mauve matches well with most colors, including many lipstick shades, which makes it easy to color coordinate. "I appreciate anything that shows a candidate has attention to detail," says June, 34, a manager at Sephora. "I once interviewed a woman who coordinated her nail polish shade to her lipstick, and as someone in the beauty industry, it spoke volumes to me that she thought to do this."
If you've narrowed things down to a particular color but can't decide on the perfect shade, gradient nails are a great way to incorporate multiple shades within the same color family. "As a graphic designer, I appreciate manicures that show a candidate has a natural eye for color and composition," says Camden, 24.
French With a Twist
One marketing manager reminds us that it's less about the color or design you choose and more about intentionality. "I think anyone who has well-kept nails, no matter what color, makes a good impression for me," says Kim, 28. "In marketing, creativity is celebrated and I believe individuality should be too!"
Keep in mind that no design or shade is off-limits, even darker hues that might not traditionally be considered ideal for interviews. “When I interview people for a position, you want to see their personality and attention to detail," says Merredieth, a boutique manager.
"I work in fashion, so everything we design and promote is trend-driven," says Elaine, 35, an executive for an online fashion boutique. "I love when candidates come in wearing styles we sell or of-the-moment manicures. It shows me that they're similar to our consumers, and we want people on our team who know what our consumers like."
Feel Powerful in Red
A solid red manicure is many things—bold, confident, and classic. Show that you're a leader with any variation of this shade, which tends to invoke feelings of strength.