What to Wear to a Job Interview

What to Wear to an Interview

When planning how to dress for an interview you need to consider 3 very important facts:

  • Visual medium is more than 55% of your message
  • The first impression you make is the longest lasting impression. People will form an opinion about you within the first 8 seconds after meeting you and this often happens unconsciously. Factors like how you are dressed, how you hold yourself, how you greet, how you handshake, are you smiling, your posture, smell, grooming, details and accessories – all that play crucial role in making first impressions.
  • Your outer appearance plays role in supporting your presentation and shows that you look the part and you fit within the company’s culture. However it is far not everything and it is highly unlikely that you will get the job only based on your looks. Be prepared for the actual interview, do a research about the company, rehearse common questions and be know who you are.

Different business sectors have different dress codes and sometimes could be difficult to find out what is the most appropriate outfit for a certain company or position. We will cover the most common industries later, but first let’s go over the basic rules for dressing for an interview.

  • Aim for formal, more conservative outfit. It is always better to be overdressed than underdressed for a job interview.
  • Black suit worn with a white shirt is the highest level of formality for both, men and women. Aim for that look if you are applying for executive positions or if you are in the financial or legal sector. You can also choose a neutral color like, navy, grey, beige, olive green, or off white for your suit. Bold, bright colours are not appropriate wear to a job interview, they can overpower you, distract the interviewer, or make the wrong impression about you.
  • Choose a matching suit before separates. It is a good investment to buy high quality suite, choose good fabrics and impeccable fit. However, if your industry doesn’t require formal wear you can opt for separates but a blazer is always recommended.
  • You can wear accessories for your interview, but make sure they are subtle and classic. A watch, wedding ring and small earrings usually is enough. Also, make sure that you have a high quality, leather briefcase, purse, or portfolio.
  • Good quality, polished shoes that match your outfit or your skin (beige, tan) are a must. We even recommend that you invest in a new pair, since the shoes are the part of the outfit that can make a huge difference in your outfit and can add a great deal of class to your appearance. Never wear peep-toe shoes for an interview.
  • Make sure your  hairstyle is current and appropriate for the job you are applying for. Your makeup should be minimal and neutral, avoid bright nail polish. Be careful with perfumes as many people nowadays are allergic – it is generally better not to wear any.
  • If you wear a skirt always wear shier and neutral hosiery.
  • Remember, your only goal is to look professional.
  • Now, let’s take a look at some examples of what to wear to an interview in the different business sectors and what is the key message you should send according to the industry.

    Executive, Finance, Legal

    Message: power, control, authority
    How to achieve:

  • High contrast outfits like black matching suit with a crisp, white shirt for example.
  • Controlled hair style
  • Neutral make-up
  • Expensive looking accessories
executive

Sales, Administration, Social

Message: trust, people friendly, approachable
How to achieve: 

  • Wear softer, warmer colours that are not associate with aggression
  • Wearing softer silhouettes shows that you are approachable 

social

Marketing, Advertising, PR

Message: creative, driven, inventive, current
How to achieve:

  • Add details or bolder ascents to your interview outfit to show your creativity
  • Try wearing contrasting colours to show dynamic personality
  • Wear current styles and trends

PR

IT, Software, Communications

Message: energetic, team player, resourceful 
How to achieve: 

  • Wear business casual
  • Wear cold colours like blues and purples because they are are associated with this industries
  • Wear pants because in this fields male workers are predominant

IT

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