The interview process isn’t solely about how you answer the hiring manager(s) questions. How you present yourself leaves an impression on those in the room, and is a part of the overall picture they will remember when narrowing down on their ideal candidate.
What can you do to ensure you are dressed to impress? Here are a few ideas:
Picking the right outfit
First, consider the organization, company or brand you are applying to and their culture. Not unlike writing a resume tailored to your field, you can tailor your interview outfit to the company as well.
Do your research and make an informed decision on how formal or informal this office might be. Add that to what you know about the role and the industry, and you can probably get a pretty good idea of how best to dress for your interview.
As a base rule, it’s always safest to dress more conservatively.
For roles in finance and law, for example, you are most likely looking to present yourself formally. For men, this would be a suit and tie. For women, a suit with a blouse, or a tailored dress, would be appropriate.
Think about sticking to more traditional colours as well: neutrals, blacks and grey. Brighter items can be distracting to interviewers
Business Casual Attire
Business casual is a term that spans industries, and is a good default if you are uncertain how formal you might need to be if the role isn’t in those stricter, traditional type fields or with a younger company. But, with such a wide variety of dress codes ranging from a sweater and slacks, to tailored pants and a button-down shirt — and that can be tricky to navigate when you haven’t been exposed to the office culture just yet.
For interviews in particular, stick to the more refined end of the business casual spectrum to ensure you aren’t being much too casual for the role.
For men, consider a tailored pant with a button-down shirt, and maybe a blazer if your interview is in the colder months. For business casual, you likely don’t need a tie — just ensure your outfit overall looks clean, put together and polished.
For women, business casual typically means things like blouses, sweaters, pants or skirts. Select items that are comfortable and aren’t revealing, and go with colours that aren’t too flashy but that you are comfortable in.
OUTFIT ACCESSORIES AND DETAILS
- Think about your shoe choice: Shine your shoes, ensure they aren’t scuffed or dirty. Select a shoe that still shows your personality and that you are comfortable in, but isn’t too distracting.
- Look for the little inconsistencies: Make sure your clothes are pressed and ironed, and there are no loose threads.
- Consider your makeup: Keep everything nice and neutral, so the focus is on you and your experience. For example, if the lipstick you’ve chosen is a bright red and could distract, consider going for something more muted.
- Select an outfit that’s up-to-date: For those of us who have a go-to interview outfit, that may have been the go-to for several years; consider that that outfit might now look a little out of place to interviewers, and consider investing in a more modern option.
When selecting your interview outfit, consider the environment and field you are applying into and if the outfit you’ve selected could really be worn day-to-day in the position. For instance, if you are applying for a position that is fast moving like early childhood education or hospital work, a flat shoe or a fancier sneaker would be more appropriate for an interview than a stiletto heel.
Really consider if what you are wearing to the interview is something that the interviewer or hiring manager could see you wearing for the role itself, and adjust accordingly.
~ written by Lucy Fox
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