Dress to impress: what to wear to a job interview
You’ve fine-tuned your resume. You’ve perfected your cover letter. You’ve researched the organisation within an inch of its life. You’ve prepped for all the possible curly questions. Now, the only thing between you and your dream job (apart from the actual interview, of course) is your outfit!
From the moment you walk into that interview room, you’re asking the panel to invest in your personal brand. According to Ruby Slippers Styling, your personal brand is made up of your knowledge, skills, passions, actions, body language and your appearance. Here are our head-to-toe tips for creating an outfit that screams ‘hire me’.
First things first: shirts, pants and skirts.
There are few rules that should go without saying – but we’ll say them anyway. Don’t smoke in your interview outfit, ensure your skirt or pants aren’t too short, don’t show any cleavage, and wear clean clothes!
So if that’s what not to do, what should you do? The general consensus is that although a two-piece suit is often unnecessary, a nice jacket is a must, regardless of your gender. Our advice? Undo the jacket button when you sit down to start the interview – it’s comfier, plus it makes you look like you know what you’re doing #fakeittillyoumakeit.
If you do wear a suit, make sure it’s navy or grey. Avoid black – you don’t want to rock up to the interview looking like you’re in mourning. Similarly, choose a neutral colour for your shirt – think blues and whites, not mustards and yellows (unless you’re interviewing for the role of Dwight in The Office).
Walk the walk, talk the talk: shoes.
Interviews generally don’t involve much walking, so this may seem counterintuitive, but make sure you can walk in your shoes! You don’t want to topple over in your new heels mid-handshake and pull your boss-to-be down with you.
However, make sure you don’t compromise professionalism for comfort. Your joggers are a no-go, and your scuffed Docs won’t do you any favours either. Instead, opt for a clean, polished pair of boots or dress shoes that you’ve worn once or twice before.
Accessories galore (or not): jewellery, ties and other items.
Sometimes clichés ring true, because less really is more when it comes to accessories. Keep necklaces, bracelets and rings simple and minimal, you don’t want to distract the panel with clanging bracelets or overly shiny gems – you’re the star of the show, not your diamonds!
If you’re wearing a tie, choose a subtle pattern that matches your suit. And for those who want to really commit to the formal vibe, pick up a pocket square in your neutral colour of choice. Cufflinks and stays should only be worn if the shirt requires them – if you don’t know what stays are, you probably don’t need them!
It’s the final countdown: general advice and tips.
They say you never get a second chance to make a first impression, so always be the best-dressed version of yourself – if you dress down, it’s hard to dress up and gain any lost ground. Even if you feel overdressed, remember that you’re there to sell yourself as a professional. Dressing professionally demonstrates that you respect yourself, the interviewer and the company. Even if the job doesn’t require you to dress formally every day, you’re more likely to be taken seriously when you present yourself in a professional manner. Who knows – it might be what makes the difference in the final cut.