What to wear for an interview

There is no doubt that first impressions count in an interview situation. Apparently, it only takes three seconds for a prospective employer to make assumptions on your personality, suitability for the role and how you will fit in with the rest of the team based on your appearance.  So, it’s important that you make that first impression a good one.

Remember these top tips:

A suit is always a safe bet, regardless of the type of job you are going for. Make sure that the suit fits and is clean! Make sure the jacket and trousers/skirt match.

For men:

  • Wear a long sleeved shirt and not one made of nylon. Nylon can look cheap and shiny and also make you sweat a lot in the interview.
  • If it is a new shirt then make sure you iron it and it doesn’t have creases from where it has just been removed from the packaging!
  • Wear a tie, but do not wear an outrageous one to show how “zany” you are. The interviewer will assume you are a complete clown.
  • Don’t wear white socks with a business suit. Or brown shoes with black trousers! It may be fashionably acceptable now to combine brown and black, but some interviewers are “old school”.
  • Make sure you are clean shaven, or if you have a beard, that it is neatly trimmed.

Women:

  • No short skirts or low cut tops and unless your job interview is within an industry that encourages it, don’t dress like a fashion victim.
  • No midriff on show and make sure your shirt/blouse is not straining across your chest!
  • Keep accessories and make up to a minimum. You want your personality and experience to shine, not interrupted by the clatter of bangles and jewellery.
  • Avoid red shoes! I used to have a boss who would instantly dismiss female candidates in red shoes, “Red shoes and no knickers”, she would say and cross them off her list. I am sure that is not the case, but I made a mental note never to wear red shoes in case that is a common expression!

Both:

  • A lot can be assumed from a person from looking at their shoes and their fingernails as to how much attention they pay to detail.  It’s always the first thing I look at and I know many other interviewers check these out too. So, make sure that your shoes aren’t scuffed, no matter how sharp your suit, and that your nails are clean and trimmed.  Chipped nail polish also looks slack too.
  • Don’t marinate in perfume/after shave before your interview. If you wear a certain scent for a long time you may need to apply more before you can smell it as you become so accustomed to it.  However, that quantity to everyone else can be choking and VERY off putting.
  • Tattooes and body piercings will always stereotype you, no matter how individual they make you feel. Make sure you remove these/cover them up to project a more professional image.
  • Make sure you have had a shower and have freshly washed hair. It may seem like common sense but I’ve seen some absolute specimens roll in for an interview!

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