Good news: you’ve got the appointment. Now you can dedicate some thought about how to dress for an interview. Remember that first impressions are incredibly important, and your appearance during the interview will contribute a lot to your chances of success.
Consider that your outfit is your business card. In this article, we provide some hints and tips on how to convert your interview into a positive career step.
Job interview: suit or no suit?
To determine how to dress for a job interview, do a little research on the company. Take a look at their website and social media in order to find out their normal dress code. For your interview, dress one notch higher.
So, if the usual dress code is business casual (blazer + trousers), wear a suit with dress shirt and tie. If the dress code looks like casual, in other words chinos or jeans with casual shirt or T-shirt, opt for business casual.
This way you will feel smart and you will demonstrate your interest in the position being offered. Most importantly, if your outfit corresponds to the company’s dress code, you show that you are able to fit in.
How to dress formally for a job interview
If you decide that a suit is required, choose a navy or charcoal grey suit with a 2-button jacket. Pair this with a white or light blue dress shirt, solid colour and not patterned, with a tie in sober colour – bordeaux, navy or green – with a small repeating pattern. Dark socks, black or brown shoes according to the suit colour. Limit the accessories to a watch and possibly a pocket square in “classic” fold pattern.
Avoid a black suit, excessively colourful ties, shirts and socks, and avoid cufflinks. You should stand out for your resumé and not for a brash, bold outfit.
It’s a good idea to try out your outfit the day before in order to avoid surprises. Have your hair trimmed a couple of days in advance, and shave the evening before. Remember to ensure that your hands and nails are pristine – they will be in prominent view.
Bring a hard copy of your resumé, together with a copy on a USB key, and your personal business card. Put all this into a smart briefcase or document holder – backpacks or hip bags are not a good idea. Prepare some questions that will show that you have done some research into the company.
How to dress casual for an interview
One step down from the suit, a business casual outfit is a good fit for many interview opportunities. It is based on a blazer and trousers or chinos chosen to harmonize, but with a sufficient degree of contrast. Wear with a dress shirt and tie, and the appropriate oxfords or derbys. Avoid jeans, T-shirts and sneakers. If you think that a tie is inappropriate, wear a dress shirt with the top one or two buttons open.
How to dress for an interview out of town
The problem that can be encountered when travelling to a distant interview location is that your suit or blazer may get creased en route. Technology can help a great deal in such cases, with suits or other garments made in crease-resistant fabric.
Plan your journey so that you can arrive at least half an hour early, so that you can find the exact location, and then relax with a coffee nearby so that you are feeling great when you greet your interviewer.
Firm handshake, a friendly smile, confident in the fact that you are looking great. Good luck!