Do You Go to Interviews Smelling Like Your Dryer?!

by: Joanne Meehl

Make Them Notice YOU During the Interview, Not Your Dryer Sheets

A few weeks ago, I attended a morning business meeting of about 70 professionals. The tables of eight seats each were fairly close together. About 15 minutes into the meeting, the woman next to me descended into a fit of sneezing, coughing, and congestion.

Only a few minutes before as we sat down, she was fine, what had happened? She left the table and I thought, left the meeting.

It was only afterward that I saw she'd moved to another part of the room and was still recovering but thankfully, no worse. I asked her if she was OK. "Yes, I am now. I'm allergic to perfumes and colognes, and the person behind me at the next table had on a scent I thought I could handle but apparently couldn't." She kept blowing her nose.

It was the first time I'd seen someone have a reaction like this. It was sobering and has made me more careful about wearing perfume. There are things others cannot control about their biology; why add to their agony?

Plus, it's key to your job search. You don't want your interviewers to think, "I don't know how to tell her/him that their perfume is overpowering and they can't do that who are the other candidates we're seeing today?"

Scent is part of our nature. It's become absolutely silly that we are so paranoid about smelling bad that we overscent our bodies, and anything that touches them, as well as our homes, cars, offices, you name it.

With the onslaught of perfumes and all things being scented - it's inescapable - no wonder many humans can't deal with it. There are plug-in scents for your home and your car, sprays, dryer and other sickly-sweet-smelling laundry sheets, even scented beads that you throw into your dryer "with long-lasting fragrance"! A favorite, unscented laundry product I used now comes scented only, so I no longer buy it.

No wonder I now keep seeing in meeting agendas, church bulletins, and Evite invitations the warning to please not wear perfume.

Gene Wood of Woodbury, Minnesota, owns Life's Pure Balance (, a company that makes and markets safe and non-irritating home, laundry and office cleaning products. Wood, a former chemical engineer at 3M for 30+ years, says, "All these chemicals stay suspended in the air once they are emitted, sometimes for hours, and we do not know the effects. How is it affecting our kids, our pets? Ourselves? We just don't know."

Expensive or cheap, don't let smell be a distraction. Use very little scent when you prepare for a meeting. Use the unscented kind of dryer (or other) sheets, and try to avoid all kinds of scented laundry detergent for the "free and clear" types instead.

It may mean the health of your fellow meeting attendee. And the success of your interview process.


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