Dress to impress: 5 tips for appropriate interview attire
First impressions always count. The way you dress for a job interview is a surefire way to portray the message that you are professional and mean business.
Consider how you dress for a potential employer as how you want them to perceive you - your personal brand. If you dress in clothing that is dirty, unironed or a bit too revealing, what sort of impression are you possibly creating and is it the one you want?
Not getting this important visual part of the interview right can ultimately spell failure in an employer’s search and selection process.
Dressing for an interview can be a bit stressful if you are unsure of what is deemed suitable. Should you go for the full suit or dress down a little? It all comes down to the type of job you’re applying for, the company involved and – to a point – what fits your own personality and the impression you want to create.
Here are essential tips for dressing appropriately for a job interview.
1. Do your research
What you wear to the interview will be the first clue as to how much you understand the company and its culture. Read as much as you can about the organisation for direction on the type of attire you might be expected to wear day to day.
If the company is highly corporate and serious, a suited look is best, while if the culture they’re publicly presenting has a more laid back, modern feel to it then you might be able to ease back to something less formal (but never jeans). This is your chance to show you understand the organisation’s personality, taking you one step closer to being a natural fit.
2. Prepare your clothes ahead of time
Try on the clothes you’re planning to wear to make sure it all fits and looks professional. Take care of any washing, ironing or shoe cleaning ahead of time so your look is polished not rushed, and if you’ve never tied a tie before, then get onto Google or ask someone you know for help.
Your attire isn’t something to leave until the last minute as this can create additional, unwarranted stress in an already stressful situation.
3. If in doubt, don’t underdress
If you’re unsure whether to wear a suit (and tie, for men) or simply a shirt and pants, simply err on the side of caution.
It is far better to be overdressed (and make a joke of it) than underdressed (and make an excuse of it) for a job interview. It takes more effort to look professional and that shows you are taking the opportunity seriously.
No matter what position you are being interviewed for, there are some definite no-nos, such as jeans or sneakers. This also applies for whether to stay safe with more muted colours or get a bit daring with bright patterns and hues. Again, when in doubt, opt for the more conservative option.
4. Don’t forget grooming
Without doubt grooming also plays a significant role in how you come across in an interview. Men: should you have a shave? Is your hair looking neat and presentable? Is your tie straight? Are your fingernails clean and an appropriate length?
Women: are your accessories suitable? Is your nail polish chipped? Is your perfume overpowering? Is your lipstick and nail polish colour suitable? Are your clothes too revealing? Is your hair presented neatly?
5. Dress for the job you want
It is simple but true: dress for the job you want, not necessarily the job you have. Use your clothing to help deliver your ideal impression about not only who you are but who you want to be. As they say, perception is reality.
The way you dress will go a long way to helping creating a strong, meaningful impression that could make the difference between progressing or missing out.