Dressing for success on the job starts with the interview. The impression that you make begins the moment you first step through the door. Each decision concerning clothing, accessories, hairstyle and makeup may affect the outcome. Therefore, it’s important to get it right. In addition to your experience and credentials, the following suggestions about what to wear (and what not to wear) can make a big difference.
Basics for the Interview
If your interview is for a more traditional firm, your best option is a two-piece suit in black, gray or navy. Then, contrast the basics with a shirt or blouse in a lighter shade. If the suit is black, a bright-colored top will provide a pleasant contrast. While there are varying opinions regarding pantsuits, it may be best to stick with a standard jacket and modest skirt. If you’re not sure, find out more about the company before making the final decision. Less conservative businesses usually allow for looks that are slightly more avant-garde. Play it safe with a ‘three piece’ outfit, whether pants or shirt with a blouse and sweater or vest. In any case, it’s better to be slightly overdressed as opposed to being too casual. Add understated accessories that polish off your ensemble.
Accessories, Hosiery and Shoes
Whether or not you’ll wear pantyhose is another good question. Again, if you are not certain, it’s better to take a more conservative approach. The same holds true for jewelry and accessories. For example, necklaces and watches from stores such as Michael Hill add a professional and elegant touch. Likewise, pumps with a medium sized heel (and closed toe) provide a more finished look. However, if the interview is for a job that deals directly with fashion and trends, you’ll want to select accessories that reflect the latest styles. Taking the time to learn about the position and dressing appropriately shows that you have exceptional work ethics. On that same note, make sure that your shoes are clean and presentable.
What to Avoid
Avoid wearing anything that stands out, such as tight clothing, extremely short skirts, strong colognes, bright textures and distracting patterns. Garish jewelry, visible tattoos and body piercings, blue jeans, tank tops and tee shirts, tennis shoes, sandals and cloth slip-on shoes are not recommended. Leave your backpack at home. Carry either a briefcase or a leather purse, and make sure that your phone is turned off and hidden away.
In addition to learning about the company prior to the interview, pay attention to personal details. Make sure that your nails are manicured and that you are wearing subtle nail polish. The same holds true for makeup. While it’s important to wear cosmetics, they should be applied carefully… to enhance without overwhelming. Pull your hair away from your face so that it is neatly groomed. Finally, a trench coat is an excellent addition during colder weather.
It’s a fact that first impressions are made within seconds. Make sure that you dress for success and walk away with the job!