So, it’s all about what’s on the inside that counts, all about your skills and experience for the job, right? Well yes, but it’s also true that first impressions in a job interview really count. So, treat what you’re going to wear with as much thought as all your other pre-interview prep.
As human beings, we all make some judgements when we meet someone for the first time, whether we’re aware of it or not. Yes, we’ve all got different styles and that’s great, but unless your unusual sense of fashion style is a requirement for the role, just think about the impression you’ll be making and the needs of the job. You want to make the best impression you possibly can without standing out for the wrong reasons.
If you were an employer, would you give the job to someone with unbrushed hair, dirty shoes and creased clothes or to someone that had made a bit of an effort to look the part? Here are some tips to help you:
Do your research – how do employees at the company usually dress? You could always call the HR department and ask. Certain types of companies will always expect a formal suit (e.g. lawyers, accountants), but more creative industries (e.g. advertising agency) may be more relaxed. If you’re not sure go smarter.
Check if specific interview clothing has been requested – smart means wear a suit, business casual means a formal suit is not required but definitely no jeans, T-shirts or trainers, casual means clean, unripped jeans could be OK.
Plan ahead what you’re going to wear and try it all on – make sure everything fits, is clean and ironed with no holes, rips or stains.
Polish your shoes – and not just the fronts!
Wear clothes you’ll feel comfortable in – nerves can make you hot, so natural fabrics like cotton are best, and don’t go for too many layers.
Avoid making a big personal statement – it’s fine to show a bit pf personality but try not to wear anything that will distract the interviewer – loud brightly coloured ties, huge patterns, jangly bracelets, loads of make up or a wacky hat might not be the best ideas.
Don’t smell of smoke – if you’re a smoker (or live with one), make sure your interview clothes don’t smell – try not to smoke before you go into the interview.
Be presentable – it’s not all about the clothes. If you’re clean shaven, make sure you’ve had a shave recently, clean fingernails, washed hair, no chipped nail varnish and don’t overdo it on the perfume or aftershave.
What you wear for an interview is not about being boring. It’s all about making sure the interviewer is focussing on what you’re saying, not your clothes. Good luck!