Being dressed correctly for that pending interview date is part of the preparation process for it. In past blogs, we have covered other areas of mental preparation and diligence in researching for that next role discussion. However, being dressed appropriately for the process ahead is intrinsic to helping project the correct aura about yourself to the interested parties you will be meeting.
Job interview clothes
As a rule of thumb, the basic criteria that everyone should follow are that your clothes must be clean, pressed and ironed. This also extends to your chosen footwear on the day; these must also be clean, not scuffed or looking worn out. A good practiced interviewer, or even recruitment agent, will take in your whole appearance when first meeting you, not just the visible top half in the sit-down interview itself.
As per the mental preparation, projecting a clear and clean image is also part of interested hiring parties ‘buying into you’ and getting a representation of how you will potentially ‘appear’ in their workplace. Therefore, prepare your clothes the night before you intend to wear. This then ensures no last-minute dramas or indecisiveness on the day of the actual interview appointment.
Speaking from experience, ensure you do not eat anything in the clothes prior to meeting (if possible). This will help you to avoid sudden accidental food splodges, marks or grease appearing and destroying your carefully manufactured visage! Same goes for those of you that smoke or vape. Really, it is advisable you do not imbibe a cigarette (electronic or otherwise) prior to interviews in the clothes you intend to wear. It is evident to an interviewer if you do, and can potentially put interviewers off, especially if they are non-smokers.
The clothing you wear also needs to feel comfortable on. You neither need to be too hot, or cold in the interview. You should also avoid wearing something that may cause irritation to your skin as you react to the situation of the interview.
What is the best colour to wear to an interview?
Colour choice of clothing is also important. It needs to remain as neutral and as smart as possible. It also should not become all the interviewer remembers about you after the meeting. If you wear something too visually striking or over the top in colouring, the interviewer is subliminally distracted by it. This means that the residue recall of you will be all about the clothing after you have left their presence, rather than your actual performance and your personality during the process.
This also extends to ties. Again, chose something that is in keeping with the neutral colour palate of your outfit. Avoid anything garish, that has a loud pattern or novelty value, and could potentially be all you are remembered for. Also, if wearing trousers, finish with a good belt – black/brown/tan. This just looks more co-ordinated.
Job interview make-up tips
Make-up, hair, nails, and accessories are an important to think about, depending on the person. Make-up needs to be subtle and not overused, as again, this may detract. It should be applied conservatively. This extends to nails. For those of you with treatments on theirs, keep the colour as natural as possible for the purposes of the interview. Again, nails that have fancy designs or overly bright colouring are a distraction.
Hair needs to be clean, brushed and presented to match the rest of your professional presentation. Again, it should not be a distraction to your appearance, nor become something you are constantly toying with in the interview. With accessories, do not wear too many rings, bracelets, large earrings, bangles, or ‘bling’; anything that will cause a distraction or make unnecessary noise when you gesticulate. Again, accessorise in moderation – Wedding Ring/Engagement/Partnership rings are acceptable. This extends to stud-like earrings (one pair), one watch, and one bracelet/bangle. This is all you need to limit yourself too – any more is overkill for the purpose of the interview process.
The focus of the interview is you – not your attire/looks. It is a balancing act to create a whole projection of ‘who you are’. This extends to presenting of your personality, career experience and suitability for the opportunity you are there to discuss.
Keep the presentation of yourself clean, clear, and conservative – this is proven to work best, especially in the UK market.
Quick tips on how to dress for a job interview
When choosing your interview outfits, it is important to remember these quick tips:
- Wear neutral colours, but ensure that they are comfortable to wear, (you will neither be too hot/cold), and they reflect your personality to a degree.
- Make sure they are clean and pressed, free from pet hairs, smoke smells, or food smells.
- Prepare them the day before the meeting.
- The shoes you have chosen are comfortable, clean, and polished (if applicable).
- It is better to wear a shirt, than a tee-shirt. Avoid anything with brazen graphics, slogans, or inflammatory wording on them.
- If wearing a tie, ensure it is not too loud in pattern/colourings, nor novelty a design. Ensure you don’t detract from you.
- Never wear any of the following in an interview: sunglasses (hide your eyes), hats of any sort, flip flops/beach shoes/sandals, or overly bright colours/dayglow effect.
- Hair and nails need to be clean and presented in keeping with your overall visage. They should not become a talking point, nor a distraction to the interviewer.
- Sports clothing, joggers, tracksuits, and trainers are also off-putting and are too casual. Avoid the temptation to use these, even if a company’s dress code is not a traditional corporate look.
- Where the company’s culture is more relaxed dress code, do not wear jeans to the interview – it is better to wear suit trousers during the interview process.
- Do not wear too many accessories, jewellery, or distracting items that will draw the interviewer’s attention from you.
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