Growing up, my parents always told me to “never judge a book by its cover,” and for the most part, I’ve tried to live by that motto. I did, however, learn that there are certain situations where that doesn’t apply and interviewing certainly has proven to be one of those times. At the end of the day, what you wear and how you present yourself in an interview does matter. This is your chance to make a great first impression, as you finally become more than just a name on a resume. Never let what you are wearing be a distraction to the interviewer; you want to make sure that the focus is on what you’re saying and not the coffee stain on your shirt.
If you don’t know what you should wear, then always err on the conservative side. You will be doing yourself more harm than good by dressing casually and it never hurts to show your potential future employer that you mean business (literally). Do your homework ahead of time, check the weather, and get some background on the culture of the company. It’s important to know your audience.
Below are a few quick tips on the do’s and don’ts of dressing for the job you want:
• It’s time to pull out that suit! For men this means a neatly pressed, well-fitted, clean, dark colored suit. For women this can mean a few different things, but it’s always best to stick with the basics, such as a pencil skirt/pants and a nice blouse or blazer.
• Don’t think you have to wear all black! You can find ways to incorporate some color and personality into your outfit.
• Don’t be too flashy. Leave your bold/designer prints at home.
• Make sure your clothes fit well and you are comfortable. You don’t want to be fidgeting or worrying about your tight clothes when you should be focusing on the conversation at hand.
• Make sure your shoes are polished and not scuffed. Men should wear dress shoes that match their belt (yes, you should wear a belt), while women should wear conservative heels or flats.
• It’s important to make sure all facial hair is neatly groomed and presentable. Even if it’s ‘MO-vember’, make sure the moustache is in check.
• Less is more when it comes to make up, jewelry, and hairstyles for interviews. That being said, your hair should always be done, and avoid the “I just stepped out of the shower look.”
Dressing well for an interview shows that you take the position seriously and that you have respect for both yourself and the company of interest. It is important to remember that you are selling yourself in an interview and should always have your best foot forward!