What to wear for an interview

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The power of first impressions is undeniable. People form an opinion about you approximately 30 seconds after they see you. It seems unfair, but that’s how our brain works. 

When you walk into a job interview, you want to be in complete control of the impression you make. To help you with that, here’s a quick guide on how you should dress for the occasion. 

  • Dressing Tips For Men 

Most offices require employees to wear business attire, but some startups and companies are more casual. The first thing you need to do is figure out what the company culture is regarding attire. You can do this by either asking your recruiter, which will show how proactive you are, or by checking their social media.

If business attire is the rule, you can’t go wrong with a suit. When I say suit is the right choice in the vast majority of cases, I mean a whole suit, complete with jacket, pants, dress shirt, tie, matching socks and dress shoes. The classic combination is a dark suit with a coloured shirt. 

The suit should be a two-piece suit in charcoal grey or navy blue. That’s as conservative as it gets. You can also go with lighter greys and blues for spring or summer. Your suit can also have subtle pinstripes if you want a little detail. Interestingly enough, you should avoid getting a black suit for your interview, and no black shirts either. The shirt for your suit should be white or a light-medium blue. Ties should be kept really simple, so go with solid colours instead of patterns. 

If the company’s more casual, you will be fine with casual pants and plain t-shirts. It doesn’t get any simpler than that, which is great, because it will take the pressure off of dressing. 

For an interview, don’t go straight for the polo, go with a shirt, tucked in, and you can leave the top two buttons undone unless it shows too much chest hair. For bottoms, go with chinos, khakis or dress pants, never with jeans, and the colours should be navy, grey or camel. For shoes, go with loafers, derbies, oxfords or brogues. 

You don’t want to decide what to wear on the day of the interview. In fact, you want to prepare your outfit in advance to make sure you pick something appropriate, but more importantly, to make sure everything fits as it should and you don’t end up wearing embarrassing colours. 

Speaking of colours, you’ll want to avoid bright colours and crazy patterns both in your shirts and in your ties. Remember being conservative is key if business attire is the norm. The suit should fit well and comfortably. The last thing you want is to feel and look either too tight or too baggy. If you don’t have a suit that fits, it’s definitely a smart investment. 

For more casual attire, the same rule applies. You don’t want to show up in funky t-shirts that you’ll definitely regret. Also, make sure your pants and shirts fit well. You don’t want to look or feel off during your job interview!

Every piece of clothing you wear for your interview should be clean and pressed. You want to look sharp and neat, so be sure to do your laundry before an interview. This will guarantee your clothes are clean, and it will also guarantee you have plenty of options to choose from. 

Mind your hair, take a good shower, wear a nice cologne or some aftershave, and for God’s sake don’t forget to wear deodorant. 

Dress shoes are important, so go for a traditional style. If you don’t have a pair of traditional dress shoes, head to your local shoe store and really look at all the options available. You can also ask the salesperson for advice, and make sure the shoes match the belt you’ll be using. 

  • Dressing Tips For Women

For women, it’s a bit more challenging to find the right outfit for a job interview. Some of the rules still apply. For example, women should also wear a conservative suit when they’re preparing for an interview if the dress code is business attire. The suit can be with a skirt or pants, depending on what you prefer, or you could also wear an appropriate dress.

For women it’s also important that the suit fits perfectly and comfortably. You don’t want a suit that cuts you in half or a jacket that feels too tight or too baggy because it will throw you off and affect your confidence dramatically. 

In fact, the best thing both men and women can do is to get alterations done to their suits to make sure they’re tailored to their bodies. 

Conservative means that the suit or dress should be of a neutral colour, such as grey, black or navy blue, and it should fit properly. Also, the fabric should be season-less, so you can always wear the suit. You don’t want to wear bright colours or crazy patterns on your shirts, and you also don’t want your skirt to be too short or your pants to be too tight. Accessories should also be kept to a minimum and they should be tasteful. 

Women should also do something nice with their hair as well, get their nails done, wear neutral, day-time makeup, take a nice, long shower, and wear your favourite perfume. Their shoes should be low-heeled to go with your conservative look and they should be in good condition. Also consider wearing hose to complete the professional and neat look.

If you want to go with a dress, make sure it’s not too short, too tight or too revealing. You can also wear a blazer with your dress for a more business-friendly look, and choose a sleeveless dress; those never go wrong in the office. 

For a more casual look, make sure you choose your dress accordingly or simply go with a shirt. Always tucked in and you can leave the top two buttons undone unless it shows too much. 

Business casual dresses are super simple and easy, so you might want to go with that. Sleeveless is always a good choice. Do avoid mini dresses and go for a dress that’s just above or below the knee. For shoes, go with wedges, flats, boots or heels. 

As you can see, it’s not difficult to dress for interviews to both look confident and feel confident. It’s all about doing your research and working with that to choose the most appropriate outfit you can. 

Your outfit and your entire personal presentation is the first thing your interviewer will see, which means you want to be in complete control of that. Looking neat, professional, confident and clean is key, so you want to make sure you take all the steps to get there. 

Wake up early so you can have a long shower, go through your skincare routine if you have it, make sure your hair looks nice, wear your favourite perfume or cologne, make sure your clothes are clean and pressed, and everything will be as it should!

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