Tips to Dress for Success on an Interview

Tips to Dress for Success on an Interview

Make your first impression count. Here are some tips to dress for success in an interview.

 

  • Your appearance tells the employer how you see yourself. Would you show up to an interview with shorts and flip-flops? It might not leave a good impression with the employer.
  • Incidentally, I did interview someone that came to an interview in shorts and flip-flops.
  • The story I was told was that he was on his boat earlier in the day, and didn’t have time to change into a suit before coming to the interview. Needless to say, he didn’t get the job.
  • Does it really make a difference how you dress for an interview? Simply put, yes it does. Your clothes, hairstyle and choice of accessories constitute your professional image.
  • It shows you cared enough about the job opportunity and company to polish your shoes, clean and press your suit and shirt, and groom yourself to project a professional image.
  • Remember, you will be making a first impression as soon as you walk into the room to meet the interviewer.
  • If you’re not sure about the company dress code or policy, find out from the person who scheduled your interview. They should be able to give you some insight into the company culture and dress policies.

 

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Tips to Dress for Success on an Interview

 

There are a number of things you can do to make that first impression a good one.

 

Tips for Men

 

Shoes are very important. Make sure they are polished and appropriate for that environment.

  • The best colors for men’s suits are black, navy blue and dark gray. Your suit can have pinstripes but only if they are faint or barely noticeable. You don’t want the strips to be a distraction for the interview.

 

  • If you live in a warm climate area, try to wear a suit with a lighter wool fabric.

 

  • Depending on what type of interview it is, a suit jacket and matching pair of dress pants always works best, and will make a nice presentation. If you don’t own a suit, a pressed pair of dark dress pants and a dress shirt with a blazer will suffice.

 

  • If the interview is for a professional or management position, you may want to go with a suit and a pressed or laundered shirt. Although it is important not to over-dress, it is equally important not to be under-dressed for an interview.

 

  • Select a simple tie. You don’t want the interviewer’s attention to be on your tie.

 

  • Your suit should fit comfortable in a sitting and walking position. It shouldn’t be too tight around your waist or shoulders. The front jacket buttons shouldn’t feel tight while buttoned.

 

  • Remember to brush your teeth before you leave for an interview. Don’t eat or smoke before an interview.

 

  • If the company culture has a younger vibe, and you’re accustomed to wearing slim fitting or custom bespoke suits, then by all means do so. You need to find this out well before the interview though.
  • You would need to have that conversation with the person scheduling the interview.

 

  • It’s always safe to choose a conservative color when it comes to your outfit. Safe colors include Blue, Black, Tan, Brown, or Gray.

 

  • Solid dark socks are always safest. Modern sock styles and colors have become popular in a dressier corporate environment, but I would play it safe and avoid polka dots, geometric designs, multi-stripes, and the like.

 

  • The sweater you select to accompany your suit should be Off-White, Beige, Blue, or a color which complements your suit.

 

  • Stay away from wearing Cologne or aftershave on an interview. You don’t know if the interviewer has allergies to strong smells, and may end the interview early.

 

  • Choose wool fabrics in cooler months and linen in warmer months. Stay away from 100% polyester blends and stay in season with your fabrics.

 

  • If the business environment is “casual” or “semi-casual”, don’t wear jeans, even if the staff does, and even if it is casual Friday.

 

  • Carry a lightweight briefcase or binder briefcase, and remember to keep your binder closed so as not to show extra resumes or other important documents.

 

Tips for Women

 

Don’t wear excessive accessories.

 

Don’t wear excessive make-up.

 

Shoes should be polished to a shine. Conservative, but not too flashy.

 

The blouse you select to accompany your suit should be white, off-white, beige, or a color which complements your suit.

 

Nails should be manicured and neat. Avoid long nails.

 

Your suit should fit comfortable in a sitting and walking position as well. It shouldn’t be too tight around your chest area. You should be able to button and unbutton your jacket comfortably.

 

Remember to brush your teeth before you leave for an interview. Don’t eat or smoke before an interview.

 

Stay away from wearing perfume on an interview. You don’t know if the interviewer has allergies to strong smells, and may end the interview early.

 

A conservative business suit is best in a solid dark color, with matching shoes.

 

Your shoes should be comfortable and you should be able to walk in them easily.

 

A tailored suit is always appropriate for an interview.

 

Pick out your clothes and get them the night before the interview. You don’t want to rush to get dressed and risk arriving to the interview late.

 

Lightweight briefcase, laptop bag or portfolio binder should be neat and easy to carry.

 

Don’t let your hair be distracting. If you have permed or curly hair, keep the look conservative and professional.

 

If you have long hair, you can use a Low Bun, High Pony Tail, French Twist, Long Ponytail, or a Braid/Bun combination, but keep it neat.

  

Dressing for a second Interview:

The general rule for a second interview should be the same as the first one. Dress professionally. Unless you are specifically told to dress differently by the interviewer,

I would dress in the same fashion as the first interview but a slight change in acceptable colors from the list above.

 

Dressing after getting hired:

You’ll get a pretty good idea of the dress code, and what is acceptable to wear after you get hired. Whatever it may be….i.e. business casual, professional dress, Friday jeans day, etc.

In any case, always present yourself in a professional manner, and take the time to project your image as someone who is respectable.

 

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