Dress to impress
The way you dress for an interview could be one of the biggest factors for your interview success. As a student, I’m relatively new to the ‘get a job’ part of my life. But hey, those new wardrobe looks can’t fund themselves.
Starting off with your first few interviews is a daunting task. It might even be enough to put you off entirely. It’s no joke that an interviewer can make their decision with regards to hiring you within the first minute. The importance of making an impression early on cannot be understated.
Interview attire etiquette
Believe it or not but you do need to prepare to dress for an interview the same way you need to prepare for the interview itself. You really don’t want any calamities on the day.
Most job interviews will require a suit. The only scenario I can think of that doesn’t require a suit is if you’re applying to the circus! Stick to darker and simpler colours: black, navy, or grey when searching for that perfect suit. Although it is true that having a different edge to your rivals can often work in your favour, when it comes to your outfit, interviewers don’t want to see something that’s going to strain their eyes. Most interviewers confess that anyone who dresses in colourful attire, male or female, has already lost their chance before the interview has even begun.
Complete your outfit with a black tie and white shirt. If you’re feeling braver you can try a striped shirt (a formal one) for bonus style points. As your shirt isn’t as prominent, being the base layer, it allows for more flexibility. But even this shouldn’t be tested to extreme bounds.
Try before you buy
It is essential to test the fitting for your outfit at least a week prior to the interview itself. You ought to feel comfortable when you dress for an interview, both standing and sitting. If you are not, it will play in your mind during the interview which could literally spell disaster.
I attended a university interview a year prior with a belt I had bought brand new. Unfortunately, I didn’t bother to try the belt on until the day of the interview by which time it was too late to realise the belt was far too big for me. I had never known belts came in different sizes until that tragic day. As a result, I travelled to the interview with my hands in my pockets a lot of the time trying to keep my pants up every few minutes. Happily, I don’t believe anyone realised my dismal situation but it shows what poor preparation can do. Take it from me guys, prepare for every eventuality!
Should you bring a coat?
Depending on the day, especially if it’s a typical rainy UK day, you may not have the choice. Bringing a coat to your interview presents two scenarios:
1 – You wear the coat
Brilliant. Now the interviewer has already decided you’re not the right candidate. Everyone before you has turned up in their sharpest suit and you’re stood there looking like the clown in the circus. Maybe a tad harsh but you see my point.
2 – You hold the coat in your arm
While the interviewer might not mind this, it still presents future problems. If the coat is on your lap you could easily start to fidget with it through nerves. The interviewer will see this and will definitely make a mental note about it.
If you do bring a coat to an interview, leave it at reception. Your coat isn’t a part of how you dress for an interview and shouldn’t be brought into the interview room.
It’s not what you wear but how you wear it
Your posture and the way you approach the interviewer is just as important as the clothes on your back. You need to appear confident and relaxed. Maintain a good posture, shoulders back and chest out, and keep this form for when you sit down too. Don’t slouch. It makes you look uninterested and lazy.
And finally, be sure to wear your favourite watch!
I hope you can take something away from this post and I would love to hear your thoughts or anecdotes on how you dress for an interview.