The caller talked about the place where she was now working and the fact she wanted to move upward in her career. From the way she spoke it sounded like she "knew her stuff," so I made an appointment for her to come talk with me.
When time came for the interview I saw her pull into my parking lot, but she did not get out of her car! Instead she sat in her automobile, with the windows rolled up, and smoked a cigarette. Okay, she is here for a job interview, and she is nervous, but she must have smoked an entire pack while driving to the interview, because when she walked through the front door the odor of smoke was overwhelming.
Take a dirty ashtray filled with cigarette butts, pour in a little water so it gets really stinky, and that is the smell she had about her! She could not smell it. Her nose had become desensitized to the odor of cigarette smoke because she lived with it all day.
While I was interviewing her, we happened to be near one of the cold-air intakes for the building's heating system, and within minutes the smoke odor had permeated the building. Later, after she left the building, we could still detect the smoke smell for a couple hours.
I had quit smoking some thirty years earlier - yes it is very difficult to do, and at the time of this lady's interview it just so happened none of my employees smoked. They gave me the "Oh Don, please do not hire her, she smells bad" comments.
Of course it is someone's own personal decision to smoke, but anyone who does (and is going to a job interview) may want to consider nicotine gum, or a nicotine patch on the day of the interview. Not only does the smoke smell get on the smoker's breath, but it also clings to clothing and hair.
I also remember a fellow who came to see me who smelled like he had just smoked an entire bag of weed. The odor was even stronger than cigarettes. And he was stoned too. Go away!
Other odors too may not be so obvious, except to the interviewer. For example perfume and men's aftershave lotion -- a tiny dab goes a long way. A big dab goes everywhere. Garlic, lots of garlic -- while it may keep away werewolves and other nasties, the smell stays in your body's system almost twenty-four hours and dissipates through your lungs! Do not breathe in the same room as does your interviewer.
Interviewers usually know within 30 to 40 seconds whether or not they want to hire the person they are interviewing. Your first impression happens in an instant. Do not stink.