What to wear to a job interview

How important are the clothes you choose to wear to an interview?

 

 

Let’s be realistic- wearing the right skinny trouser suit  is not going to guarantee you the job, just as wearing a questionable Hawaiian shirt isn’t going to guarantee you won’t get the job if the interviewer loves you. However, the sad truth is that 30% of interviewers suggest they know within 90 seconds whether or not they will hire someone. Hard to deny that first impressions count isn’t it?

 

Job interviews are an opportunity to present yourself in your best light and that starts with projecting the image you desire from the moment you set foot through the door. Your outfit will be a key part of this so it's important to think carefully when choosing what to wear to an interview.

What not to wear

Before looking at how to choose the right clothes, let's look at what not to wear. Don’t wait until the morning of the interview to try on that old suit that has been lurking at the back of your wardrobe for a few years. How do I put this gently…it probably won’t fit. And if by some miracle it does fit, perhaps there’s a reason it’s been relegated before.

 

 

Wear something that you know fits and feels comfortable and if you are buying something new, try it on in advance, with the shoes, the tie, the bag whatever it may be- you don’t want to be stressing on the morning of an interview because you tried to iron a shirt and burned a hole right through it. Be prepared.

 

Stick to the classics

 

At the risk of playing it safe, for the majority of interviews you are best to stick to a suit or a smart shirt and trousers/skirt combo. Avoid pop culture  references or comedy socks- some employers might be fine with you wearing a Simpson’s tie or a Joy Division t-shirt to work but err on the side of caution and wait until your offer letter is signed, sealed and delivered before you pull those goodies out your drawer.

 

Research the company and it shouldn’t be too tricky to work out if they go for traditional business dress- if in doubt take a look at some current employees on LinkedIn. Many companies will photograph staff so their pictures will likely be taken in work.; Some companies will now tell you before an interview if they are ‘business casual’ – on this occasion I wouldn’t suggest getting carried away; steer clear of jeans, trainers and t-shirts aim for smart trousers or skirt but lose the tie.

 

As a general rule, wear shoes you have tried before. While shiny new shoes might look great, you hobbling along covered in blisters or wobbling around on a pair of stilettos that are too high- not so great. Polish or clean up a pair of smart shoes that you won’t have to think twice about once they are on.

 

Accessorise

 

This can be the best way to show your personality. If you have a favourite locket or a timeless watch, don’t be afraid to show these as part of your character, a personal touch is great just don’t wear anything that is going to take the attention away from you talking.

 

 

Don’t drown in Black

Head to toe black screams funeral. This is probably not the atmosphere you want to create- unless you are interviewing for a role at a funeral parlour. In which case, stick to black.

 

Be Yourself

Cliché? Yes. True? Probably. If you have a deep desire for purple or feel strongly that your personality is best represented by Monochrome then go for it- yes you probably don’t want to be controversial in appearance but you still want to be you. The interview is a chance to demonstrate your personality so there is no point hiding everything that might set you apart in a seriously competitive market.  If you feel confident in what you are wearing, the chances are you will walk in to that interview with your head held high and be able to focus on the important part- your ability to actually rock the job in question.

 

Ready for the final cliché- always wear a smile!

 

 

 

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