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What to Wear to Job Interviews

Job interviews are stressful enough without worrying about what to wear, but it's important to realise that people will form an initial impression of you within just seven seconds.

If that sounds intimidating, don't worry - there are a few simple rules to help you get it right every time.

Take control of your personal branding so your appearance ceases to be a potential issue and you can focus on getting that job.

Added on 09.10.2020

A good interview outfit will make you feel confident and will help you ease into the interview. So, what to wear?

ALWAYS do your research

You've likely heard the saying 'Dress for the job you want' however it is also key to dress for the company. In the past it was standard to wear a formal business suit, but things have changed, and many companies have different dress codes. It all started with the boom of the tech industries and now we see many more companies adopting smart casual or just plain casual dressing.

Do your homework and find out what the company's dress code is. If you’re using a recruitment consultant then they can advise you, if not then call up the receptionist and ask them the question, or you could ask a fellow alumnus, or check out their website.

What do dress codes mean?

Business professional

This means more formal and corporate, with business suits as the norm. For women, we recommend a skirt with a jacket and heels. For men, we recommend a simple, clean suit in navy or grey and a shirt and tie.

Business casual

You can leave the suit in the wardrobe for these companies. Men can wear jeans (but do make sure they do not have any rips and are clean and smart), or chinos, with polo shirts acceptable, smart shoes, blazer. Women could wear a conservative dress, or a blouse (or sweater) with a skirt or dress pants and dress shoes or boots.

Casual 

Don't get carried away! The company may be super casual, but you don't work there yet and you want to look polished and professional. Men might consider wearing a t-shirt, or polo shirt with jeans and dress shoes (leave the flip flops for when you have the job). Women might wear a collared shirt with pants or a pencil skirt, or a dress.

What you should not wear to interview

We strongly recommend that you never wear the following to an interview:

  • trainers or running shoes;
  • open toed sandals or flip flops;
  • strappy tops, tank tops;
  • any outfit involving a low neckline or visible midriff;
  • shorts, short skirts / short dresses;
  • any outfit that reveals any part of your underwear.

If in doubt, be over-dressed rather than under-dressed

We recommend being a dress code one level above what the team members wear on a day to day basis. If the company are business casual then get the suit out.

Pay attention to detail

It is important that you look polished for your interview. Get your outfit ready and make sure that it is spotless. Give your shirt and suit a dry clean, or get the ironing board out. Don't show up in wrinkled, stained, worn or ill-fitting clothing.

Comb your hair, and check to make sure you do not have food in your teeth. If you smoke or fancy a cup of coffee before your interview take some fresh mints with you. I would also bring a small grooming kit with you.

Do a dress rehearsal

Try your clothes on before the day so you know exactly what you want to wear and how that looks. This will also prevent any wardrobe malfunctions. Your clothes may not fit anymore, or there could be a missing button, or they need a clean. Check it all out before. It will also allow you to be on time and not run late to your interview. 

Don't overdo the perfume

Both perfume and aftershave are not things you want others to smell until they are very close to you. If people can smell your fragrance in an office environment you probably have too much on. 

Keep it simple and stylish

Go easy on the jewellery and the makeup too. Keep your outfit plain (navy blues or dark colours) and try not to wear really loud, bright colours or an array of patterns.

Finally...

Remember, the key thing is that you want the interviewer to focus on YOU - not what you're wearing. You want to create that instant impression, one that says 'professional'. With that done, your outfit can be forgotten, and the real business of the interview can then proceed from a strong opening.

Good luck!