They say a picture is worth a thousand words, and the same could be said for a first impression at a job interview. One of the most important factors of preparing for an interview is how you present yourself to the company, not only mentally and emotionally, but physically as well. It is important to paint a good, professional portrait of yourself to the employer, showing that not only do you want the position, but you are fully prepared for what the job will entail. This will of course include how you dress and present yourself. Before you say a single word to the interviewer, you have already made your first impression based on what you are wearing. Keep in mind that every company will have a different dress code, but when it comes to professional interviews, it will be pretty consistent in terms of what you should wear.
According to a Forbes articles from 2014, 80% of job candidates dress the part in their interviews, while the other 20% don’t. That means about 20% can lose the job before they’ve uttered one word! The other eye-popping statistic in that study was that first impressions are made within the first 30 seconds of job interviews. This is why it is so vital that you are aware and on top of how you dress for any job interview. The better you dress, the better odds you have of not only getting the job you desire but moving up the ladder in the company you work for. Here we will describe the best outfits for both men and women in the typical job interview that are surefire ways to help get you that position!
Dress Attire for Men
- When it comes to men, you should dress in a manner that is professionally appropriate to the position in which you are applying. In most cases, this would mean a suit, tie and dress shoes. It is rarely appropriate to “dress down” for any interview, regardless of company code dress policy. It is best to dress conservatively.
- Interviews are the best places to wear a suit and tie. When we say “suit,” we mean the works! This means a matching jacket and pants, dress shirt, tie, matching socks, and dress shoes. Typically, a dark-colored suit with a light-colored shirt is the best option.
- It is important to make sure that your suit is comfortable and fits well, so that you can look and act your best. It is not a good idea to try to squeeze into an outfit that may cause you to squirm or feel awkward during your interview. Part of the entire interview process is to feel good mentally, and if you are dressed in appropriate-sized clothing, you will feel well.
- Always avoid loud colors and flashy ties, as it will bring too much attention to yourself and distract the interviewer completely.
- Your clothing should be neat, clean and pressed. Visit your dry-cleaners often if you do not have an iron and get your suit pressed. Shower or bathe the morning of your interview, and wear deodorant of course! But avoid wearing cologne or aftershave, as the smell could become overpowering or worse, cause an allergic reaction!
- Make sure you have fresh breath for your interview, so this means brush your teeth right before the interview (maybe mouthwash as well!) and don’t eat or smoke right before an interview.
- Your hair should look neat, clean and conservative.
All in all, it is much better to be overdressed than dressed too casual for any interview. You should make sure you match, and that your shoes are well-polished and in good condition. Also, make sure your shoes match your belt. Be sure to shave before your interview, unless you have a full beard or mustache, and in this case just make sure that it is trimmed and neat-looking. Ultimately, you are dressing to impress. These may seem like a lot of rules, but it is all for a greater cause: getting you that job! Dressing professionally shows that you have respect for yourself, the interviewer, and the company as a whole. You need to be taken seriously, and the best way to do this is to present yourself in a professional manner and take the time to attend to the small details that will make you dress and feel like a super star!
Dress Attire for Women
- Generally speaking, women should wear a suit with a skirt or pants. Always remember to be more conservative.
- As mentioned for men earlier, your suit should be comfortable and fit you well. The jacket of your suit should not be too tight and if you are wearing a belt, it should not feel like it is cutting you in half. You may want to see a tailor if your current suit is not a good fit.
- Your suit should be simple and dark in color. Nothing short, bright in color, or tight is appropriate for a job interview. If you have to question it, it is probably not okay! Knee-length skirts are the most appropriate.
- Wear a conservative blouse with your suit, but avoid anything that is tight, low-cut, lacy, or has bright colors or animal prints. Keep it basic and conservative.
- Jewelry and accessories should be kept to a minimum. Stick to pieces that are not shiny or over-the-top or distracting. One ring or bracelet per hand will suffice.
- Keep your shoes low-heeled and conservative. They should be in good condition, and ones that don’t have an open toe or back. A basic pair of pumps will work perfectly, because they never go out of style and they will be quite comfortable.
- Pantyhose are usually a common thing women wear for interviews, but make sure that they are a neutral color and match your skin tone.
- Be sure to dress in a manner that is professionally appropriate to the position in which you are applying. As said before, always go towards dressing conservatively.
- As with the men, shower and bathe the morning of the interview, and do not wear perfume, as it could smell overpowering just like cologne or aftershave. Make sure your breath is fresh and avoid eating or smoking before your interview.
- Your hair should be neat, clean, and conservatively styled. Avoid trying any crazy hairstyles. Also avoid brightly colored scrunchies or elastics or any type of hair band that would look out of place with a suit. If you want to style it in any way, we recommend wearing your hair in an up-do or pull it back it into a low ponytail or wear a barrette.
A few other things to keep in mind for both genders are piercings, such as gauges, nose or tongue piercings. You may want to consider removing them for the interview, just so you can keep a conservative look for the interview and not create any unwanted distractions. Also, tattoos may be acceptable for some companies, but others will definitely eliminate some candidates based on body art. It is best to cover any tattoos you may have that could be visible otherwise until you know whether or not the company is ok with people, in the position you are interviewing for, showing their tattoos. Another good thing to remember is not to have any wild or crazy hair colors, as that could be considered a distraction as well. Certain companies will have dress codes based on visible piercings, tattoos, and wild hair colors, and it is best to abide by these rules so you can put your best foot forward and have the greatest interview experience possible!
Overall, dressing professionally is the way to go. As mentioned previously, these may seem like a lot of rules, but it will definitely help you in the long run. According to Undercover Recruiter, 65% of bosses indicate that clothing could be a deciding factor between two almost-identical candidates. Knowing this, any job candidate should know that clothes do in fact make the man (or woman!). Showing respect for the company, interviewer, and yourself is vital to a successful interview and ultimately earning a new job. Whether you are interviewing to be a saleswoman, marketing analyst, accountant, or consultant, dressing and preparing for any job interview will help you feel confident and will show your dedication to the position and ultimately that you take the whole process very seriously. Be the best you!