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How to Dress for Your Job Interview

Posted on 22nd August 2017 by Katrina Docherty

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The way you present yourself at an interview can play a large part in creating that first impression, so please make sure you dress smartly and appropriately.  


“First impressions count”, “You’re not going to get a second chance at it”…these are the dreaded comments we get from our friends and loved ones whilst preparing to attend that all important job interview. Knowing what to wear to an interview is actually half the battle of the interview itself.


When you’re attending a job interview, your appearance is extremely important. Whether you look professional or slightly dishevelled can be a dealbreaker on that all-important hiring decision!


Understand the company culture

When deciding what to wear to a job interview, you should first take into consideration the culture of the company you are interviewing with, and dress accordingly. Are you interviewing with a company where the employees wear suits every day or do they wear t-shirts and jeans?


A suit is not always the best choice for a job interview. If you show up wearing a suit and tie and all the employees are wearing shorts and thongs, you will look out of place, feel uncomfortable and may lose that confident energy. Similarly, if you show up wearing shorts and thongs to a company who wear professional attire, it would definitely not be a good start!


The industry you are interviewing with should also be taken into consideration, as the dress code for an accounting firm is likely to be different from that of a construction company, for example.


Match the interviewer

If you want to get the job, your choice of what to wear for a job interview should match or be slightly dressier than the dress code of the company. For example, if the normal work attire of the company is business casual, it’s ok to wear a suit to impress. If the normal work attire is casual, it’s ok to wear a business casual outfit to impress. Better to be overdressed than underdressed – at least you can make light of the situation as an ice-breaker!


Once you have decided on whether a professional, business casual or casual outfit is most appropriate for your interview, here are some guidelines you may want to follow when deciding exactly what to select from your wardrobe!.


The key is to wear clothing that you feel comfortable and look great in, while at the same time matching the corresponding dress code of the company. That way you’ll exude great energy and let your true personality shine!


Present yourself neatly

Make sure your clothes are clean and neatly ironed. Nothing is worse than arriving in wrinkled or dirty clothing. Select clothing that fits properly too, as an ill-fitting outfit can appear scruffy and unprofessional. Wearing clothes that fit will help you to feel comfortable and relaxed in your interview. Preparation is key!


Good grooming and hygiene are essential, so make sure you have clean hair, fingernails, fresh breath, deodorant, etc. Hair should be styled in a neat but manageable style, as the last thing you want to be doing during the interview is stressing about your fancy new hair-do coming unpinned, however, we recommend you keep it pulled back from your face.


Guys, if you have facial hair, be sure to give it a trim/comb through ahead of the interview, so that you look as neat and tidy as possible.


Perfume and aftershave should be used sparingly so that it is not overpowering and the same goes for makeup, this should be kept subtle and professional. Don’t wear flashy jewellery, as it may become distracting and you’ll want the interviewer to pay attention to you, not your bling!


Avoid loud prints

It’s good to show a bit of personality in your outfit choice, however, it is best to stick to block colours, rather than loud, busy prints. Don’t be afraid of going for a slightly brighter shade, as it can help you to stand out and appear more confident. Try to find a balance between smart and stylish.


Novelty ties and socks are best avoided. Yes, the interviewer will notice!


Accessorize smartly

You can inject a bit of personality into your outfit with the accessories that you select, so if you’d rather play it safe with your outfit choice, why not pair it with a nice bag or pair of shoes?


Accessories should be kept smart, so if you are taking a bag with you, a smart satchel, briefcase or handbag would be the better option rather than a backpack.


Shoes should be clean and newish looking. Keep heels at a sensible height.


No smoking!

If you’re a smoker, please try to refrain from smoking for at least an hour or two before your interview – some interview spaces can be small and compact! 


Above all, be confident, honest and on time – YOU GOT THIS!