What to wear in an interview‏

Believe it or not many people still ask the question:  Does my appearance really matter in an interview?

The answer is simple; “YES!”

The human race judges one another on appearance and whether you like it or not, you will be judged as an expression of who you are and your approach to work.

This does not mean, however, that beauty and good looks will get you through the door. It won’t. But what you wear and how you present yourself will be viewed by the interviewer as a measure of your status, confidence and worth.

It can sometimes be difficult to distinguish the dress code according to the company. Sometimes creative industries can have a more relaxed and informal approach to dress, however, this does not mean that a professional look is not required.  The right image is going to be one that helps the employer easily visualise you as one of their team and reassures them you could represent the company appropriately as a member of their staff. If in any doubt, contact the company’s HR department for advice or look at the company website or literature to see how people are dressed.

Some basic pointers on how you can come across well to a potential employer with your personal image are given below:

  • Invest in a new, high quality outfit which fits well and makes you feel comfortable. If you are constantly struggling with the cut of your suit this will come across to the interviewer and make you look distracted.
  • Try to reflect the look of the business and office that you are entering. If the organisation is high powered and contemporary try to convey a creative and dynamic look making sure that you are on trend. Should the business be of a more traditional nature, a classic look such a pin-stripe suit will make you fit right in and already give you a look of being one of the team.
  • For organisations with a more relaxed dress code getting the interview look right can be a little more problematic. The suit and tie option may be a big faux pas.  Instead it may be preferable to opt for a smart, coordinating outfit.  Jeans are rarely seen as appropriate attire for an interview, even if worn by staff members on a regular basis. If in doubt, seek advice for the company before the interview.
  • It goes without saying that outfits should be clean, lint free and intact – no missing buttons, fraying hems or ladders in tights. Remember you could be sat in the interview for anything up to 90 minutes and your appearance will be noticed within this time.
  • Hair should be neat and up to date, nothing too fussy or unmanageable. If you colour your hair ensure that it is freshly done before the interview.
  • Accessories such as handbags or briefcases should be smart in order to reflect your appearance and show how organised you are. Jewellery should be unfussy and make-up should be subtle as should perfume or aftershave.
  • Good grooming is a must have, no matter what type of organisation you are looking to go into.  Men should be either clean – shaven or have a neatly trimmed beard. Clean hands and nails, deodorant and fresh breath are all essential.

If you are unsure about your look before an interview ask for an opinion – preferably from someone that will be honest and give constructive criticism where needed.

The term “you should never judge a book by its cover” does not apply when it comes to your personal image and an interview.  The way in which you present yourself can strongly influence a potential employer’s perceptions of you, the way in which you will work, your ability to carry out the tasks given and the way in which you will fit in within the company.  Get this right and you have already nudged that door open a little.  Get it wrong and you may find yourself reading this post again 😉

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