Having too strong of a scent from the cologne/perfume that you may wear will work against you. Even if you love the fragrance and don’t think that it’s too much, this is one of those situations in which you really need to be considerate of the other person.
I once had a woman come in to interview with me to be a volunteer with the organization I represented. We sat down to start talking, and I noticed her strong scent right away. Given that I am not generally allergic to perfumes, I didn’t think it would be an issue. Within 5-10 minutes, the vapors were so strong that my eyes were burning. She was a nice enough person, but it was all I could do to keep from running to the restroom to put some dampened towels over my eyes.
Except for the perfume issues, the interview went well and everything checked out with her, so we accepted her application as a volunteer. However, I also took a moment to talk with her about not wearing her perfume when working with a client because of unknown allergy issues the client may have. If I had been interviewing her for a paid position, the amount of fragrance she wore definitely would have been a consideration.
Here is an interesting article that talks about the proper application of various fragrances.
If you are not sure how much to bring it down, don’t wear any at all. Better to have the person you are meeting at the interview or networking event remember you for your enthusiasm and great ideas than your overpowering scent.
What experiences have you had on either side of the scent issue?