First impressions are everything. What your interviewer perceives you upon the initial meet can color their perception of you before the interview even begins. Did you know that some research shows that 85% of communication is nonverbal? So you want to ensure that what your job interview contact sees communicates confidence and professionalism. As an employment candidate, you want always want to give detailed attention to your your choice of outfit. Here are some tips that will help your job interview get off on a positive footing.
Consider the Environment and Dress Accordingly
Before you begin pulling pieces out of the closet, give some thought to the overall picture. If the position you are seeking white collar or blue collar? Is the job interview for an entry level or senior management post? Not every job interview requires and $800 blue suit. For example, if your job interview is at a warehouse for a forklift driver position, a suit would likely be overkill. In this instance, you would likely be much better off with an excellent dress casual combination. But according to many outplacement and career counseling professionals, you always want to dress one or two levels higher than the position for which you are interviewing.
Leave Your Inner Hipster at Home
Individuality is great. But let’s face it, when you are on someone else’s dime, there are always concessions you have to make to bring home that bacon. Unless you are working at the local coffee house dive, your job interview will be with a company that has some type of dress and personal appearance code. Prior to your job interview, be sure to remove all nose rings and body piercings. Ensure that your hair is clean and neatly groomed. And that handlebar mustache may be a great conversation piece, but very likely to be a big distraction to the person on the other side of the table.
As with any decision regarding your employment, it will be up to you to figure out how much of your individuality you are willing to give up for the job. The decision does eventually live with you, and so does its consequences. There are some who bravely decide that their interview should be a litmus test to see if the employer will accept them with their specific eccentricity. It is up to you to decide the priority when it comes to this.
For Suit Wearers, Stay Professional and Wear Dark Colors
If in fact you are going on a job interview in a professional environment, be mindful of the type and kind of suit that you are wearing. There is definitely a difference between they suit you would wear to a job interview in one you would wear to the bar room on a Friday night. Do some research on the latest trends and touch that credit card for the right suit. Go with either a dark blue, dark grey, or in some instances, black, which can make a powerful statement when the situation warrants. Accent colors such as red can also move the meter. But use it sparingly. A white shirt is also a safe bet for the job interview. It usually provides excellent contrast to the dark suit and sets off your choice of tie nicely.
For the ladies, most of the time it is fine to go with either the pantsuit or skirt suit option. But there are still some scenarios where the pants suit may not be acceptable. Do your homework to ensure this is not the case. If you are working with a recruiter or a knowledgeable career professional, consult them to see if they have knowledge of this employer’s preferences.
Lastly, you sure your suit fits properly. You don’t want to look like you are wearing your older (or younger) sibling’s clothes in a job interview.
Shoes Make the Outfit
Most ladies will tell you, when she runs into a guy in a great outfit, the judgment on how legitimate that outfit is comes down to the shoes. When selecting the shoes for your job interview, be sure that they coordinate in both style and color. You would not want to wear boat shoes with your sharp blue suit. Check the wear and tear on your shoe selection. Are they really worn? Is the heel ground down on one side? If so, then grab a different pair. Make sure they are well polished and all scuff marks removed. And when selecting your socks, be certain that when you sit down and your pants leg rises, the the top of the socks should not be showing.
Now, there may be instances where the footwear plays an important role in the type of job for which you are interviewing. Perhaps you are in construction and you believe that the interviewer will want to ensure you have the proper gear to perform well in the position. If you have assessed the situation and believe that dress casual is the proper attire for this job interview, the shoes you would wear on the job would not work in the situation. Perhaps you can bring the footwear with you to the interview in a case such as this.
For the ladies, a nice closed toe pump is always a safe option. But you want to watch the heel height. The website Careergirlnetwork.com recommends no higher than a 3.75” heel. And be sure to avoid the exposed platforms.
Get The Details Right
Let’s not forget the little things when preparing for the job interview. For instance, have your nails professionally manicured, but manicured for a professional look. No wild colors, glitter or characters. If you have conditions such as dry or oily skin, be sure to address this during your bathroom preparation. Ladies, when putting on your makeup, think professional and keep it light.
A good rule of thumb is when in doubt, go conservative and dress up rather than down. You want to deliver a message of command and confidence from the moment you walk into the job interview. So do your homework, then give yourself the best chance to make a great first impression. It is also a good idea to ask the interviewer, if available, or a professional contact within the industry regarding interview dress expectations.