The second you walk into an interview, before you even open your mouth, you’ve already spoken volumes and made a lasting impression on your interviewer. How? With your clothes. The way you dress when attending an interview can say a lot about you, and this can sometimes even be the difference between getting the job or missing out on it. Every element of your appearance will be under scrutiny, so it’s important that you give it some consideration and thought. We have a few tips to help you dress to impress in your interviews, so you never lose out on your dream job thanks to your odd socks.
When it comes to smart attire, men really do have it easy. Just slap on a suit and you’re done, right? Wrong. While the classic ‘smart attire’ for men might be limiting to suits, that doesn’t mean you can just throw on anything and call it a day. When choosing your suit, make sure it fits well and is in good condition – threadbare elbows or particularly loose trousers make their own impression, and often look like you can’t pull off smart office attire. Wearing a suit also means you should do it properly – so matching jacket and trousers, dress shoes, a smart clean shirt and an appropriate tie – if in doubt, go with plain, dark colours. Make sure everything is ironed and not crumpled. If you don’t own an iron, prepare to visit a dry cleaner before your interview to get your suit pressed.
Once you’ve got the outfit ready, it’s time to prepare yourself as well. Make sure you shower the morning of your interview and wear a strong deodorant. If you have facial hair, make sure it is well kempt and you have shaved in the morning. Pay some attention to your hair and ensure it doesn’t look unkempt or wild. Brush your teeth and use mouthwash. If your interview is later in the day, have some fresh smelling gum or breath mints with you – the last thing you want is your tuna fish sandwich lingering on your breath! If you wear cologne, use it sparingly. Going overboard can often result in a negative impression, or worse, an allergic reaction in some people. Subtle is always best in interview situations.
For women, the options are a bit more open in terms of what you can wear. Again, we recommend you go smart, with many women opting to wear trouser suits to interviews for the ease factor. If you go down this road, make sure your suit is clean, pressed and fits well, same as the boys. If you wear heeled shoes, make sure they are clean and you can walk in them easily – tottering around the office on brand new 5inch heels is never a good look! Women also have the option of wearing any sort of smart shirt with their suit, instead of a standard dress shirt. To make the right impression, make sure whatever you choose is clean, flattering and doesn’t show off too much cleavage. Floaty tops with lightly frilled fronts are a classic look for interviews. If you opt for a skirt suit, make sure your skirt is pressed and comes down to at least your knees, and tights if you wear them are free of ladders or runs – it’s those little details that help interviewers see you as smooth and polished. Whatever type of outfit you choose, make sure it looks smart and polished. As before, make sure you are clean and well presented as well. Pay attention to your makeup and make sure it looks professional. I’m a big supporter of being yourself in interviews, but if you usually go for black panda eyes, you might want to tone it down a little! Don’t bathe yourself in perfume for the same reasons as above, but also make sure your nails aren’t dirty and you look well-kept overall.
There are very few examples of when it is ok to dress down in an interview. Even if you’re going for a position in a relaxed company, you never know what is expected of you, so it’s always safe to go smarter. If you’re coming back for a second interview you might be able to get away with a slightly relaxed look, but you should still aim to be smart. Turning up to any interview in jeans and a baggy hoodie (and believe us, people have done it!) is never a good idea and you are unlikely to get the job.
At Precise Target Recruitment we specialise in helping our candidates prepare for their interviews, including practice interviews, CV re-working and dress advice. If you’re looking for a new role, or would like some help preparing for your next interview, get in touch with our expert teams today.