What to Wear at the Job Interview

what to wear at the job interview
"You never get a second chance to make a first impression". When it comes to dressing to impress for an interview, this phrase should most definitely be the motto of the day.

Whilst it certainly isn't the case that the outfit you wear to an interview will ultimately determine whether you get the job, it is the case that your clothes can be a great way of enhancing your chances of success.
When it comes to interviews it is important to remember that interviewers are looking for reasons to screen candidates out, so ticking all the boxes from the outset, is a sure-fire way for you to ensure that you are not discounted unfairly before you have even said a word.

If you get the image right, your interviewer will be predisposed to liking you and start the interview with an open mind. Get the look wrong, and you may find that you are fighting against a stereotype from the word go.

What to wear at a job interview

There are various ways in which you can get an idea of what you should wear for an interview, including asking the company itself whether it has a dress code; looking at what current employees wear to work, or having a look at company literature or websites.

If in doubt, more formal is always safer than less formal. Imagine what you would wear to go to work and try to dress one level 'up' from that. Often, a smart wrinkle-free suit in a neutral colour is the best choice for both men and women.

Whilst you will evidently want to convey a bit about your personality through what you wear, never risk anything that could appear too 'alternative' or improper. Even if current staff around the building appear to be dressed relatively casually, remember, you're still attending an interview and need to impress!

There are several points to consider when choosing your interview outfit including what style, colour and even what material your clothes should be. Personal grooming and hairstyles also come into play when considering how you can make the best impression.

Try to avoid tight-fitting suits, skirts or trousers and give coarse materials a miss - one thing that is sure to prove a distraction during your interview is itchy or restrictive clothing. If you feel comfortable, you are more likely to act comfortably, which is vital in an often-pressured interview situation.

Clothing can not only have an effect on the interviewer in terms of what impressions they develop of you, but the colour(s) you are wearing can also affect both the atmosphere in the room and your own state of mind.

The majority of people opt for black when going for an interview as it seems like a safe choice. Black is authoritative and powerful and can also make the wearer appear elegant, sophisticated and slim. However, it can also evoke strong emotions and so to avoid black becoming too overwhelming, try and team it with a flash of colour.

A popular choice for suits and other outfits is grey. Grey is inconspicuous and conveys an air of intellect and knowledge - something that would definitely come in useful during an interview! As a balance between black and white, this could be the perfect choice for an interview.

The colour blue is universally considered to mean 'trust' and commitment. It is a warm colour which also allows you to inject some personality into your outfit. Similarly, green, pink and peach shades are great for instilling feelings of coolness and calm in the wearer and are perfect shades to compliment your black or grey suit.

If you want to make a strong impression on your interviewer, you may want to think about wearing red - this is a symbol of dominance and confidence, however, like black, can often be overwhelming so don't go overboard on this one.

Of course, if you are keen to play it safe and want to let your personality do the talking, then simple white will leave you feeling fresh and neat and will go well with any suit!

Many people forget that their hairstyles need to complement their clothing, so it's a good idea to visit your hairdresser before a big interview for a bit of a tidy-up. Go for a hairstyle that is neat and professional and leave the hair dye at home for the day.

If you usually like to wear lots of jewellery, try to keep this to a minimum for your interview, particularly if you have something a little less conventional such as facial piercings. These can often distract and you don't want your interviewer focusing on them instead of listening to all the great things you have to say about yourself.

Likewise, keep any tattoos you may have under cover, unless they are impossible to hide.

What 'not' to wear at a job interview

It is useful to be aware of some of the universal "no, no's" both for men and for women. Here are some of the most common 'looks' to avoid:
  • Extremes of fashion
  • Untidy or dirty hair
  • Straggly beards
  • Body odour
  • Smelling of alcohol, or food
  • Strong perfume or aftershave
  • Tobacco odour or stained fingers
  • Jeans and casual clothing
  • Crumpled clothing
  • Very high heels
  • Lots of cleavage, short skirts, see-through clothing
  • Joke Ties or socks
  • Lots of jewellery

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