The term “Dress for Success” is famous for a reason. Your appearance is what makes a first impression, and whether we like it or not, first impressions play a big part when it comes to interviews. Often, a bad first impression causes hiring managers to write a person off (whether they mean for it to or not) and while it isn’t the only factor, most companies aren’t going to hire somebody who can’t dress appropriately.
If you aren’t fashion forward, have no fear. Here are 10 quick tips on how to dress for success when it comes to interviews:
- Research the company’s culture and dress code. While in some industries the dress code is self-explanatory (i.e. accountants are always in professional dress), other industries may not be so. If you are unsure what the dress code may be, you have a few options:
– Call the company’s HR department or receptionist and ask them.
– Look at a company’s website to see if you can get a feel for their culture or if there are any photos of the staff.
– Dress professionally anyway. You can never overdress for an interview.
- Invest in a power outfit. While people may not immediately notice how put together you are, they will notice if you are not. Therefore, it is smart to invest in at least one power outfit, if not a few, to wear to your interviews. A power outfit is an outfit that is appropriate for the industry you will be working in, professional, and comfortable.
- Invest in comfortable, work appropriate shoes. Shoes can make or break an outfit. Even if you are dressed magnificently, scuffed or outdated shoes are noticeable and will effect your overall appearance. It’s also important to make sure these shoes are comfortable and easy to walk in. Women should wear low, conservative, closed-toe heels or “power flats” while men should wear a pair of loafer or lace-up dress shoes.
- Test-drive your outfit. Not only should you practice your interview answers, you should also practice wearing your interview outfit. You need to make sure you are comfortable sitting and walking in it. The more comfortable you are, the more confident you will seem.
- Make sure your outfit fits well and is dry-cleaned. Your outfit should fit perfectly. If not, it doesn’t hurt to have it tailored to fit your exact body. The better it fits, the more put together you will look. It is also important to dry-clean your outfit, as it will eliminate all wrinkles and let the color shine.
- Do not wear fragrances. You never know if your interviewer will have any allergies or be fragrant-sensitive. When it comes to perfumes, colognes, and scented lotions and deodorants, it is better to be safe than sorry.
- Accessorize. While accessorizing may not be your forte, it is important in completing your outfit. When it comes to accessories, it is best to stay simple. Ladies should wear a few pieces of jewelry (nothing too large, distracting, or flashy), neutral colored nail polish, and natural looking make-up. Men should wear a watch (nothing too large, sparkly, or flashy) and, if they would like, one ring.
- Be aware of your posture and body language. The most important things in appearing confident is good posture, a strong handshake, and appropriate body language.
- Make sure you are well groomed. Your hair should be washed, simple, and neat, your fingernails should be clean and well manicured, your eyebrows should be well-groomed, and men should be freshly shaven.
- Dress for the job you want, not the job you have. Even after you get the job, it’s important to continue dressing as professionally, comfortably, and appropriately as possible. It’s important to remember the phrase “Dress for the job you want”. If you aspire to be management dress how your manager dresses, not how your colleagues dress.