When considering the key points to an interview, you think; subject knowledge, how you come across and affability, but some forget to consider what to wear to an interview. This is what the first impression is based on, how a complete stranger will judge you and essentially sums you up as a whole.
There tends to be no room for experimenting or being adventurous with your interview wardrobe. Style remains as fashions come and go, so here are some quick rules and tips for your interview wardrobe that is bound to leave your interviewer with positive opinions about your first impression.
You should be aiming to dress one notch above what you would consider appropriate to wear for work, this also includes what you would consider appropriate work attire and what position the interview is for. In a last ditch effort you could hang around the car park of the company, at a time they close, to see what they wear , but this isn’t the best idea – just in case they recognise you as the person loitering in the car park when they are leaving work. A general rule is to play it safe with a suit.
Suits are a staple item for any interview. They never go out of fashion and can be worn to many events. But if your suit is rather shiny, this isn’t the suit to wear, it’s better suited to a casual event, such as a wedding or a night out on the town.
Women have more choice with a suit then men; you have the choice of a trouser suit or a skirt suit. With a skirt suit you want it to give the right professional impression with the right length, the trick is, it shouldn’t be more than one biro length above the knee.
As far as colours go, black is always a safe bet, but if you don’t like that idea, try navy or brown and in the summer a lighter, plain colour is also fine to wear to an interview. A plain blouse is the safest option or a blouse with a simple stripe. However patterns are tricky to get right and therefore should be avoided. You can however add a splash of colour with a scarf or brooch. Shoes can also be a tricky aspect, you want to have a sensible height to your heels, getting this wrong could be the equivalent to a shiny suit. When the interviewer greets you, they will look you up and down, so shoes are just as important as what you wear.
A cotton suit will always win over a linen suit, as they crease less, allowing a more polished look for your first impression. Try darker colours for suits. The same as with the ladies, your shoes can be your downfall, if you are wearing a black, grey or blue suit, wear black shoes. If you are wearing a brown or blue suit then wear brown shoes. Avoid suede shoes, as unlike your suit, these are better when they are shiny!
Your tie should compliment your outfit – don’t wear a patterned tie as this can be like bringing a lava lamp to your interview, as it will distract the person interviewing you. You can’t go wrong with a plain crisp white shirt, casual single colour tie and plain dark colour socks. The interviewer will notice everything.
Some companies will test your ability to interpret a business casual dress code. Casual trousers and blazers can be mixed and matched, for both men and women, ties can be left out and even shoes can be more casual. If you are still in doubt as what can be worn, remember, no jeans, no t-shirts. It is business casual, this means casual but professional.
The point of is, if you look great, you will feel great and there will be a greater chance of you being successful in your interview. The best advice for what to wear is to start with a blank canvas or the safe interview basics listed above and then add a small splash of your personality/style with one carefully chosen accessory. It is always best to play it safe and trial run your outfit a few days before to make sure it is clean and looks good, it will help the interview day run smoother if you know your outfit and it is clean and ready to go!