What to wear to an interview
You're going to a job interview! Congratulations! Now you need to decide what to wear.
It's essential that the clothes you wear for an interview fit well and are appropriate for the type of position and the company culture. Job interview outfits are meant to present you at your best. In this blog post, we'll discuss what types of clothing will work best in different situations so you can go into your next interview feeling confident.
The type of role you are applying for will determine how formal the interview attire should be. Still, it's always best to err on the side of caution and dress more formally than less - after all, if your interviewer doesn't like what they see (or worse - comments that you're not dressed appropriately), then you may not get the job. You may be prepared with common interview questions and fit all the criteria for the job, but if you show up with an offensive slogan on your shirt that may be the reason you aren’t offered the role.
There are some general rules that you can follow to look your best. Make sure your clothes are clean, wrinkle-free and pressed. You want to make a good impression as soon as you walk through the door. When you’re deciding what to wear to a job interview, the first step is to research the kind of working environment you will be walking into.
Interviews in a corporate office generally expect formal business attire.
Suit, tie and dress shoes - you can always remove your tie on arrival if you don't see anyone else wearing one
Make sure your shoes are polished and clothes are ironed
A full suit or separate jacket and pants are acceptable; choose a single colour over patterns
Neat and tidy hair
A suit jacket with pants or skirt, paired with a button-down shirt or blouse, or a dress
Dark coloured skirts are preferable; avoid loud colours or patterns
If you are wearing tights, make sure they have no ladders or holes
A corporate heel or loafer
Neat and tidy hair
For both men and women, you will not go wrong with a smart, tailored suit paired with a solid colour shirt. Pay attention to the details (hair, jewellery, matching socks) to ensure that you put your best foot forward and appear professional.
Business Casual Interview
Some business environments have a more relaxed dress code (this could be a creative office or simply a company with a different culture). In this case, it is not necessary to wear a full suit and tie, and the dress code can be more casual.
A great way to get an idea of the company's standard of dress is to view their social media pages and see what their employees are wearing. You may also be able to gauge from the job description and the company’s website.
Button up shirt
Chinos or trousers (avoid jeans)
Black or brown shoes with a matching belt
Skirt or dress pants and blouse
You can be more creative than in formal business attire with colours and patterns
Heels, boots or flats in neutral colours
Blue Collar Interview
If you're interviewing for a trades position, it may not be appropriate to dress formally. In this case, dress in a way that shows respect for the role and company. Comfortable clothing is best as you may be moving around a lot more, and may also be required to follow safety guidelines (i.e. high heels may not be appropriate).
You can wear:
Your best jeans or dark coloured pants
Solid coloured t-shirt, polo or blouse
Closed-toed shoes (or work boots if required) that are in good condition
Neat and tidy hair
Being mindful of what others are wearing to work is a good indicator of how you should dress for an interview at that company.
What Not to Wear:
Clothes that are visibly stained or dirty
Inappropriate footwear such as thongs
Ripped jeans or shorts
Leggings or yoga pants
Clothes/shoes that are highly uncomfortable or irritable - you want to look and feel confident; if you are visibly uncomfortable, this could translate as nervousness
Clothes with offensive slogans written on them
Things to Remember
Whether you’ve just handed in your resignation letter to your boss or are looking for your first job, you can improve your chances of getting hired by making a great first impression at the interview. Employment agencies and hiring managers often interview dozens of people for the same role, so you want to stand out favourably.
The most important things to remember when dressing for a job interview are to be comfortable, professional and clean. You want to make the best possible first impression so that your skills and experience come across clearly during the interview. By avoiding wearing something that will distract the interviewer (slogans on clothes, body odour, visible stains or dirt on your clothes etc.), you will be able to focus and put forward a professional image of yourself.
If you are unsure, you can always ask family and friends to view your outfit in advance and give you feedback. And remember, it is always better to overdress than underdress for an interview. If you aren't sure of the standard attire for an interview with a particular company, attend in formal business clothes. If you look and feel confident you can focus on the important parts of the interview: answering questions, asking questions and discussing salary expectations.
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