WHAT TO WEAR
“What a strange power there is in clothing” Isaac Singer
Mr Singer was absolutely right. Clothing, as well as attitude and body language, plays a key role in first impressions on an interviewer. Interviews can be tricky enough without immediately setting yourself back by being dressed inappropriately or unwisely.
Bear in mind that, unless you are being interviewed for a job in fashion or an environment in which clothing features importantly, you do not need to be extravagant or edgy. That being said, it can also be unwise to just assume that a classic suit or skirt and shirt combo will see you through. Perhaps the most important thing to ask yourself is: what does everyone else wear in that particular workplace? Once you know the answer, find a similar outfit but, as a rule, stay comfortably on the smarter side.
General advice for what to wear to a job interview
- If you are not sure about what to wear for the interview then ask. Call up the company and ask what people wear and try to dress similarly. If everyone is wearing a suit and you turn up in jeans you can almost guarantee that you will make a bad impression. If everyone is wearing jeans and you turn up in a suit it may look or feel strange but it will not be anywhere near as bad. The rule of thumb that applies to dressing for interviews when you are uncertain is that it is far better to be overdressed than underdressed.
- Ensure that you are comfortable. No one would run a marathon wearing trainers they have not worn before, so why wear something sparkling new and untested for an interview? Try out the outfit before and ask a friend or family member to judge you, as if through the eyes of an interviewer.
- Think about the image that you are trying to get across. If you are applying for a position in a corporate firm and you wear flip flops then you leave the interviewer confused. An outfit can give great confidence if it is right. "Dress smart, think smart" may sound like a stale slogan, but in most cases it will work. If you dress to impress then the chances are you will be far more likely to than if you dress to fail. Dressing well also works wonders for a person’s self-esteem, and confidence is an attribute virtually all employers will be hoping to find in a candidate.
- Personal hygiene may sound like an obvious point, but being smart and well groomed is essential. Ensure hair is washed, brushed and if you are a man who sports facial hair that it is neat and clean. Of course apply perfume or aftershave, but try not to make the interview room smell like the perfume section of a department store.
- Some jobs require more thought than others when it comes to choosing what to wear. A lot of employees in marketing, design and creative industries don’t wear suits at all any more. Research the company and find out what everyone wears. If everyone wears chinos and a blue shirt then wear exactly that.
- Specialist jobs such as modelling, acting and dancing can require you to dress in a certain style that will help with your application. If this is the case then speak to friends or others in the profession and find out what they would suggest.