So you’ve made it through the initial stages of your application. Great! Now it’s time to think about how you should dress for a job interview. After all, how you dress can make or break your chances of being offered the job.
You may be a great candidate with outstanding experience; but it’s likely your interviewer will form an instant opinion on you based on your clothes, within seconds of you walking in the room.
If you create a bad first impression because you haven’t dressed professionally enough, it’ll be very difficult to change the interviewer’s mind. First impressions last, whether they’re good or bad.
So, why put yourself on the back foot? Consider the tips below to help you ace that job interview and find success in 2020.
Dress for the position you want not the position you have
You want the employer to be able to imagine you in the role they are recruiting for; and a big factor of this is looking the part. If you don’t know what the appropriate attire would be, try one of the time-tested classics below.
A black, grey or navy suit for men; and a conservative dress or tailored trousers and a smart jacket for women, is the perfect example for how to dress for a job interview. The only exception to this corporate look may be if you’re interviewing for a company in an industry where casual dress is common, such as a start-up or tech firm.
If you misjudge the company’s dress code, the interviewer will think that you’re not taking the opportunity seriously. So, you want to get it right. If you turn up in a full tracksuit then chances, are you’ll get shown the door as soon as you sit down.
If you just can’t figure out the dress code, play it safe and go business formal. However, you can always call the recruiter or the company to inquire what the dress code is for an interview. Not only will you know what to wear, but you’ll get brownie points for being proactive.
Remember, if you’re interviewing at a company with more than one department, mention where you’ll be interviewing; as the dress code can vary from team to team.
Tone down the colours of your clothes
It’s important to only wear traditional shades, such as black, navy, grey or white when you dress for a job interview. You want the employer’s attention to be on what you’re saying, not what you’re wearing. A glaring orange suit may mean you aren’t taken seriously.
After you have put the clothes on, look in the mirror and give yourself a critical look. What impression would an interviewer have if they saw you in those clothes? If the answer isn’t professional, smart and appropriately dressed, then consider changing your outfit.
Be comfortable wearing your clothes
When you wear your interview clothes, you should instantly feel confident and ready to take on the world. This attitude will show in your interview, rendering you more attractive to the hiring manager.
An employer will be able to tell within a matter of seconds if you’re uncomfortable in your clothes; meaning the interview is not the best opportunity to test out your outfit for the first time.
If you’ve bought a new outfit, be sure to try it on at home and make sure you’re comfortable wearing it. If it feels too tight, doesn’t fit well or you just don’t feel good wearing it, exchange these clothes for something that’s better suited to you.
Be selective in the jewellery you wear
When deciding on how to dress for a job interview, jewellery can be a tricky subject. If you decide to wear jewellery, remember the maxim ‘less is more’. You want your accessories to complement your outfit, not overwhelm it.
Acceptable jewellery includes small earrings, simple rings, a simple necklace and a watch. You should ensure that the accessories you wear are of good quality (not turning your fingers green!) and is are a conservative colour.
Choose the right shoes for the occasion
The shoes you wear are equally as important as the clothes you put on. You don’t want to spend lots of time and effort deciding what to wear; only to let yourself down with your choice of shoes.
Like your outfit, your shoes should be appropriate for the company and industry you’re interviewing for. This means that casual shoes, such as trainers should be avoided.
Plain shoes, heeled or flat, in dark colours, are a safe choice. If you decide to wear heels and aren’t used to wearing them, make sure you can walk in them easily. The last thing you want is to fall down the stairs on your way to the interview!
Get a trusted second opinion on how to dress for a job interview
If you aren’t sure whether your clothes are suitable once you’ve tried them on, ask for an honest second opinion. A friend or a family member should be on hand to help you decide on how to dress for a job interview. If a few people express negative comments about your outfit, give it some thought and consider changing.
Deciding what to wear for an interview can often be a daunting task. With strong competition for jobs, it’s crucial that you don’t put yourself at a disadvantage. Follow these recommendations, and they should put you in good stead for your interview in 2020.
About the author: Shilpa is an ex-recruiter turned CV Writer and offers CV writing, LinkedIn writing and cover letter writing assistance. Shilpa is currently offering free CV reviews where she will personally review your CV and give you clear recommendations to improve your CV. Connect with Shilpa on LinkedIn.