First impressions are critical when you’re searching for a new job, and your job interview attire can have a great impact on how potential employers perceive you. Your resume landed you an interview, but that’s only the first step. Now it’s time to prove to the hiring manager that you’re the right person for the job – and the wrong outfit can stand in your way.
An excellent wardrobe won’t make up for a lack of experience, but neglecting to consider how to dress for an interview could negatively impact your chances of landing a position you’re perfect for on paper. With these five tips, you’ll learn how to dress for an interview to maximize your chances of landing the job.
As simple as this sounds, always wear professional interview attire, regardless of the company dress code. It is far better to come to an interview overdressed than underdressed. Dressing professionally also impacts us psychologically – if your job interview attire makes you feel confident, enthusiastic, and powerful on the inside, it will show on the outside.
Opt for well-fitting suits with collared shirts, and always wear a tie. Never wear jeans – even if the company dress code is business casual. If you’re wearing a skirt or dress, be conscious of the length. And remember to stick with modest necklines. If you’re unsure whether something is appropriate, then choose something else. It’s always better to play it safe.
Footwear is often overlooked, but it’s an important piece of your job interview attire. When you’re deciding on shoes, make sure they’re clean and as like-new as possible. For women, closed-toe dress shoes with modest heels or flat soles are a good choice. And avoid sandals, even in warmer weather.
Aside from your job interview attire, be sure your nails are clean, your perfume or cologne is lightly applied, and your hair is neatly styled. When it comes to tattoos and piercings, consider taking out facial piercings and selecting clothing that covers tattoos (at least for the first interview). Tattoos and piercings may be perfectly acceptable in some companies and have become more common, but they can still be a significant turnoff to certain audiences.
Interviews are daunting enough on their own – don’t add to your anxiety by deciding what to wear last minute. Select your interview outfit the night before, and be sure to remove lint and iron out wrinkles. Most importantly, try everything on to ensure it fits. Clothing that is too tight or uncomfortable will distract you, and it may be difficult to hide your discomfort during the interview.
When it comes to colors and patterns, you can’t go wrong with solids and neutrals. Job interview attire that doesn’t call attention to itself if usually a safe bet. However, depending on your industry and the culture of the company you are interviewing with, it may be appropriate to work in a pattern or color to show your creativity. Applying to a high-end fashion magazine? Ensure your outfit is on trend. Interviewing with a financial institution? Opt for traditional business wear.
Now that your outfit is on and you’re headed to the interview, don’t forget to discard your gum before entering the building, leave drinks in the car, take your headphones out, and silence your cell phone. Even if you dress for success, little things like those can detract from your professional appearance and distract the hiring manager.
Your clothing will make a statement about you before you even have the chance to introduce yourself, so make sure you’re sending the right message by dressing the part. If you follow these five tips on how to dress for an interview, you can take the stress out of job interview attire and focus on what matters most – acing the interview questions and highlighting your skills.