The obvious answer to that question is a suit, isn’t it? Once upon a time, a suit would have been the answer to everyone’s interview outfit dilemma. But then things changed. We got ‘new media’ and everyone became ‘creative’ and now entire offices go to work in jeans and shorts and it’s confusing. Thanks, dress down Friday. Thanks for nothing.
So what should you be wearing to your job interview?
Rule 1 – You can never be too smart for your first interview
If you are going to a wear a suit, your first interview is the place you wear it. Even if it’s slightly off base and you’re interviewed by a guy in a t-shirt, they’ll appreciate the effort. You’re showing that you’re taking the interview seriously. Try as you might, you can’t do that in jeans. You can always adapt for your second interview.
If a suit isn’t for you, a smart shirt and trousers will work. Or a pencil dress and smart pair of shoes. You’ll never regret looking smart for your interview. You’ll always feel funny about being under-dressed.
Rule 2 – No one cares for your ‘wacky’ fashion sense
You might think that your Hawaiian shirts look amazing. They really don’t, and an interview isn’t the place for them. I know, you should be all about being yourself but there’s a line. You don’t want your outfit detracting from what you’re saying. So anything bright and garish needs to go (eye-catching can be good, if it’s one piece done subtly). Don’t be boring, but use your personality to show what you’re capable of. Unless you’re going for a job in fashion, you don’t need to try so hard.
And while we’re on the subject of trying too hard, ladies please put the cleavage away. It’s not necessary.
Rule 3 – Plan the night before
Whatever you’re planning on wearing, get it ready the night before your interview. Otherwise that shirt that you think is hanging up in your wardrobe will be found after an hour of searching. In the laundry basket. With a red wine stain down the front. Being comfortable in what you wear is so important so do make sure you’re prepared. Get ready the day before and make sure you like what you’re wearing.
Rule 4 – Beware the new outfit
It’s always tempting to wear something new when you get a job interview. But unless you’ve got time to shop, you’re putting yourself under unnecessary pressure. You’ll end up wearing a dress you don’t like that you bought in a hurry, and shoes that hurt your feet. New doesn’t mean better. It costs you money and you’ll curse yourself for not wearing your tried and tested ‘interview outfit’
Instead, choose a new bag, or a new file holder for your CV. Pick a new watch or a different shirt. New touches can give you a confidence boost, but don’t go crazy. You still want to feel like yourself.
Rule 5 – Know your industry
This is where the rules get a bit blurry. Unless you’re massively changing the industry you want to work in, you should know what to wear. You know where the rules lie because you deal with this industry every day. The problem is, when we’re put under pressure, our sense and rules go right out of the window and we panic!
Look at what people in your office wear, remember what your boss was wearing when they interviewed you. Go up one notch of smart, and you’ll be bang on and ready to impress your potential new employers.