Dress For Success
First impressions matter, so make your first impression last when you are going for an interview. Believe it or not, interviewers are human beings and they do notice how you are dressed. They may not pay special attention to the details but how you present yourself helps in forming an opinion about your professionalism.
Your dress code can help you make and create a lasting statement before you even start talking. Times have changed and you may not be required to dress too conservatively, but this in no way gives you the freedom to dress as you please. Keeping it professional still counts.
Let us dive straight into the most appropriate dressing styles for both ladies and gentlemen.
How to dress for an interview, for men
Of course, your clothes play the main role in this show. You definitely cannot make a great impression if one part of your attire is amiss. For instance, you show up in a creased suit but wear brand new shoes! The creases will attract the wrong kind of attention.
To start with, you need a suit. A full suit if possible. The colour should be dark such as black, dark grey, navy blue or anything that does not make you look like a clown. Dark suits fit in well with business settings and they communicate professionalism and seriousness. Remember to properly iron the suit because showing up in a creased suit will make you memorable, but for the wrong reasons.
If it is too hot, you can remove your coat because you do not want to worry about sweaty underarms while you are trying to answer serious questions. Comfort helps to boost your confidence. If the weather is favourable, you can wear your coat. Bottom line is, be conscious about the weather. It also communicates that you can adapt well to different situations.
The suit should then be worn with a clean, well-ironed shirt. The shirt should be a bright, plain colour such as white, pink or light blue. These colours should complement your suit appropriately.
Do not wear a shirt with a frayed color or a black shirt to an interview, you look weird at the very least.
Finally, complete this look with a tie. It is important to wear a dark-coloured tie. Even if you do not like ties, it would be nice to wear one to an interview because it will only last for a few minutes. If it is a hot day, you may choose to overlook the tie because, like we said stated, you should adapt to the situation.
It might be tempting to dress down depending on the company’s culture, but it is advisable to dress officially during your first interview. You can dress down for consecutive interviews, but let the first interview get you invited for consecutive interviews.
Men are their shoes, so they say. That said, you need to wear clean, closed shoes. They should be dark-coloured such as brown or black. They do not have to be flashy but a pair of leather shoes would be nice.
Please do not show up to an interview in flip flops. Most importantly, ensure that your shoes are nicely polished and clean. Dirty shoes communicate carelessness and no one will want to hire you when they deem you as being careless.
Clean shoes should be worn with clean socks. You do not want to sit in an interview room where you are suffocating the interviewers with stinky feet. They will want you out of that room as soon as possible and that means that you do not have sufficient time to dazzle them with your brilliant skills and experience. Cleanliness matters, so go out of your way to ensure that you are very clean and presentable.
If you can, wear a mild cologne just to prop up your confidence. You do not want to enter an interview room in a nervous state because you are not sure of whether you are smelly or not.
You are encouraged to wear mild colognes so that you do not cause discomfort to the interviewers with a cologne too strong. Additionally, someone on the panel may be allergic to strong scents and your strong cologne will cause them an allergic reaction and that interviewer will not pay attention to what you are saying.
Smell good but keep it subtle.
Your hair plays a big role when it comes to neatness. Ideally, you should keep your hair short and neat. However, some people prefer to keep their hair long. In that case, ensure that it is neatly combed. This way, people might not even notice that you are not clean shaven. The idea is to be clean and neat.
This also applies to beards. You should shave your beard on a regular basis because a bushy face is not attractive. The idea is to look neat and organised.
Men are not fond of wearing jewelry but in the event that you like wearing jewelry, then pay attention.
The standard rule when it comes to jewelry is; the less the better. If you wear earrings, it might be a good idea to remove them when going for an interview, unless it is for an artistic position. At most, only wear a watch. Too much jewelry will attract the wrong attention and you want interviewers focusing on what you say as opposed to what you are wearing during an interview.
Dressing for an interview for the ladies
Gone are the days when ladies were required to wear skirts and dresses only, to an interview. You can now wear anything as long as it is appropriate and decent.
For starters, wear a full suit, be it a skirt suit, dress suit or trouser suit. Let is be dark in colour. Your flowery dress or that pink suit could be a nice way of expressing your personality, but they are not fit for an interview. Stick to dark colours such as black, navy blue or dark grey. These are colours that show that you mean business.
By all means, do not wear extremely tight or short clothing. You attract the wrong attention and it does not show professionalism. Additionally, extremely short or tight clothes are likely to be uncomfortable and this interferes with your confidence.
If you were a skirt or trouser suit, complement it with a light-coloured blouse such as pink, white or light blue. Avoid dark-coloured or flowery blouses. Please do not wear a blouse that shows your cleavage, you will be memorable for the wrong reasons and you are likely to miss out on that job.
To bring out the best look, it is advisable to wear closed, high-heeled shoes. The shoes should be dark-coloured such as black or brown. Do not wear extremely high shoes as these are bound to be uncomfortable and give you a weird posture and gait.
Your shoes should be comfortable and presentable.
Every lady likes to smell nice. No one likes walking around with the smell of sweat and this is very easy to find in the hotter parts of the country.
As much as you want to smell good, do not overdo it. Wear a mild perfume that smells nice but is not too strong. A strong perfume may be suffocating and at worst, it might make an interviewer have an allergic reaction.
If you make interviewers uncomfortable, they will be eager to have you out of the room and this won’t give you enough time to showcase your skills. Additionally, you may be disqualified because no one wants to work with a person who causes them constant allergic reactions.
Ladies love to accessorise. They love to add some flair to their look and jewelry comes in handy. Well, when going for an interview, too much jewelry just won’t cut it.
Imagine trying to emphasise your point using hand gestures but the colourful bangles on your arms keep making noise and attracting the interviewer’s attention instead of the point you are trying to pass across. The interviewer is unlikely to remember what you were saying.
If you have to wear earrings, wear small-sized ones and do not cave in to the temptation to decorate your ears with many earrings if you have many earring holes.
Additionally, do not wear long, colourful necklaces when going in for an interview. Apart from distracting the interviewer, you might be tempted to play with it and end up distracting yourself. Wear a necklace that complements your outfit.
Hair and makeup
The hair is the crowning glory of every woman. While in your campus days , you were tempted to experiment with your hair, it doesn’t apply when going for an interview. Wild hair and colourful braids might send the wrong signals to interviewers. If you must plait your hair, use neutral-coloured braids and avoid the temptation of having multiple-coloured braids. Additionally, do not hold your hair in fancy styles. Use a simple hairstyle, preferably holding it back in a bun.
If you do not prefer to plait your hair, you can comb it back and hold it in a bun. You may have a hairstyle but ensure it is neat and presentable.
Many ladies would also like to use some makeup whenever they are stepping out. If you must, then make sure your makeup is subtle. If your face is heavily painted, you might be uncomfortable and it might make you look phony.
In conclusion, dressing for an interview should not be stressful. The idea is to appear professional and make a great first impression. When you are correctly dressed, you will be comfortable, which will allow you to concentrate on the interview and ace it.
Enjoyed this article? Also check out Smart interview questions to ask the interviewer