The wearing of perfume or fragranced lotions in an interview is a mistake for various and unrelated reasons. Usually a candidate will apply lotion or perfume just prior to leaving for the interview, resulting in an often over-powering fragrance in what is usually a small, enclosed area like a conference room or an office. The assumption will be that if you are wearing fragrance in an interview, you will absolutely wear it in the office once hired. Many people/interviewers have allergies to perfumes and fragrances and rather than mention it or ask that the interviewee refrain from wearing it if they are hired, the hiring authority will avoid the discomfort of addressing it altogether and move on to another equally qualified candidate instead. If you are unlucky enough that your fragrance happens to be the same as that of the ex-wife or ex-husband of the interviewer, it could bring back unpleasant memories that the interviewer isn’t even conscious of, but that will affect the way they respond to you as a candidate. The sense of “smell” is very powerful and if a fragrance is familiar it connects us with the pleasant or unpleasant feeling of the associated memory immediately, even if we are unable call up the actual details of the memory itself.

The most important thing to remember is that whether you get the offer or not isn’t solely about “you” the interviewer, but also about your competition and how they compare to you on multiple levels. It is human nature to take the course of least resistance when at all possible. Why would an interviewer broach an uncomfortable topic with you when there is another candidate who they may also like and with whom those issues don’t exist? The best course of action as the interviewer is to ensure that any potential obstacles are removed so that you look not only like the best but also the easiest decision for the hiring authority.

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