How to Dress Properly for a Job Interview

So it’s the night before your big interview and you have torn your wardrobe apart in search of the ideal outfit to impress your interviewer. First step: don’t panic. Provided that you are dressed somewhat suitably, your choice of clothes will not make or break your interview outcome.

Despite this, an array of factors must be considered when picking your outfit. What is the job? Where are you meeting? Is it a “quick Coffee” with an employer you already know, or a formal interview in an office? For a start, despite the situation, a quick coffee interview is still an interview. However casual it may seem, it is better to be over-dressed than under-dressed. If you are unsure of what is expected  you can always drop a quick email to HR and ask them what is the recommended attire for the interview.

For women a blouse, blazer and suit trousers or a skirt is an easy go-to. Full suits are a great option also and always improve the professionalism of the look.  A dress with a blazer or jacket over it will also look the part. And if you are going to wear tights – put a spare pair in your bag. If you are going to get a ladder in your tights you know that it will be as you get out of your car to walk into the office for your interview!  

While the number of clothing options tend to be more limited for men, overdressing (tie/no tie, jacket or none?) is more likely than it is with women. In a clearly professional environment, wearing a suit may be the obvious “uniform” and option. Makes things easier, right?

What about ties? Again, it all comes down to colour matching, as well as your personal preference. If your interview is slightly less formal, leaving out the tie can help maintain a professional appearance without going over the top. If the circumstances of your interview indicate that a suit will be a step too far, a pair of nice trousers with a shirt is always a good look, with or without a tie. However don’t  not wear shorts, jeans or anything you could describe as sports attire.

Regardless of your gender and the role, aim to look professional and well groomed.  Avoid large – statement pieces of jewellery – keep it simple. You should do the talking -not your jewellery or clothes!

If you are buying a new outfit for the interview get used to wearing it before the interview day.  Don’t let the interview be its first outing. There is evidence that wearing a brightly coloured outfit or tie can be an advantage as it helps the interviewer to remember who you were – especially if they are interviewing several people on the same day.   Don’t overdo the perfume/scent/aftershave – we have heard of some interviewers who ruled out candidates based on the totally overpowering scent they were wearing at the interview!

Even if the dress code in the place you are applying to is very casual you should dress as if you are going for an interview, rather than for turning up for your first day of work.

In Conclusion, dress professionally without allowing your clothes to do all the talking. Prepare your outfit plenty of time in advance, to avoid any last minute surprises. Once you are happy with how you will dress, stop thinking about it and focus on what you are going to say.

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