People tend to form their initial opinion of someone within the first few seconds of meeting – therefore, in an all important interview situation, ensuring your appearance works in your favour by dressing appropriately – is paramount.
But… what to wear?
You want the interviewer to remember YOU. You do not want their memory of you to be overpowered by their recollection of your inappropriate clothes, accessories or scent.
Unless you are interviewing for a position where your unique sense of style will be a selling point (e.g.: a position in fashion), then this is certainly not a time for experimentation. Your presentation supports your image as a professional and as a person who takes the interview process seriously. It also suggests that you understand the nature of the industry for which you are interviewing.
Different industries have slightly different dress codes, but even so, you need to err on the side of formality and professionalism. Be aware that in some industries, the image presented to the customer is critical. In such industries and roles, your presentation will be viewed with higher scrutiny.
As a general rule of thumb, the following points apply:
- Clothes should be well fitting, clean and well pressed
- Always wear an appropriate jacket to an interview (irrespective of the weather). The jacket need only be worn during the interview
- Shoes are a crucial component of an outfit and speak volumes regarding the candidate. Ensure your shoes are polished and closed-toed
- Hair should be neat and off the face
- Accessories should be kept to a minimum
- Scent – no scent at all is more appropriate (than that which is overpowering)
Overall, your outfit should be noticed as being appropriate and well-fitting, but it should not take centre stage.
If your clothes look sloppy – you will leave a sloppy impression.
Don’t let presentation become a major stumbling block for you at interview.