Our first physical contact with any other individual is mostly a visual contact. At first glance, the brain registers certain information about the person the eyes behold – that personâ€™s gender, demeanor and very important, his or her dress or clothes, among other things. Our brain immediately forms an opinion about that person in that first impression.
This impression might change for better or worse in later interactions with the same person depending on a variety of factors. However, most people would agree that a first impression makes a strong statement about any one of us.
Make a Strong First Impression
Keeping in view the above observation, it becomes imperative that we make a strong and positive first impression while appearing for a job interview. In order to achieve the same, the first thing we should make sure is to don a nice dress for any and all of these occasions. Whatever else we would bring to the employerâ€™s table would flow from hereafter.
Consider this â€“ when you, as a customer, go to a business or an office for some important task. If the concerned person who greets you is dressed professionally and carries himself with grace would arouse in you an anticipation of your query being dealt with professionally. On the other hand, if you find the dealing person ha unkempt clothing, shirt half tucked or tie askew, if worn at all, and has a tired look with eye bags from last nightâ€™s drinking binge, you immediately become uncertain in his capabilities.
So it goes without saying that any employer would like to see you dressed properly and looking sharp; plus you get a shot of self confidence for yourself by dressing well. So how should we actually dress for a job interview?
Dressing up Appropriately is the Key
The keyword for proper attire here is – ‘appropriate’. Next question that arises is ‘what is appropriate’?
Common sense tells us that any job interview â€“ from a gas station attendantâ€™s job to a NASA scientistâ€™s – has equal important ramifications for their respective applicants. This importance should guide us to wear a formal code of dress to lend us credibility as a serious applicant.
In recent years, a new trend has emerged. Some workplaces have adopted a casual dress code. Therefore, many experts now want applicants to inquire from a potential employer about what kind of dress is considered appropriate in that particular organization. However, in a majority of job interview scenarios, a formal dress still is the right attire. Even if a workplace supports casual work dress, it is for the employees already working there and not for you and I as new applicants. Still, only if you have made sure, go ahead and dress casual. I also believe that it is far more difficult to choose ‘appropriate casual’ as compared to ‘appropriate formal’.
Job Interview Dress For Men
In my opinion, it is relatively easy to decide on a formal dress for men than women.
Everyone would agree that a two piece matching suit is the perfect attire for a job interview. By way of color choice, it should be a solid color blue, navy blue, dark grey or charcoal grey. Although it is tempting to wear a black color suit, as most men have at least one, you should leave that out for other occasions like a party or wedding. The most important thing, however, is to make sure that the suit is well fitting and well pressed. It need not be too expensive but should convey a graceful appearance. A two or three button suit jacket is fine and you should leave the bottom button unbuttoned. Pants should be worn at your proper waistline and should fall a perfect length around your shoes.
Shirts worn under suits should be long sleeved. Actually, even if not going for an interview, a suit should never be worn with a short sleeved shirt. White and light blue colors are universally recommended for shirts in the discussed scenario. Dark shirts should be avoided. However, you have to be very careful about your white shirt as it easily shows any small smudge or any other imperfection. In my view, pointed or buttoned down collars give a man a sharp look.
Needless to say, you should wear a tie that appropriately complements your suit. It should be a relatively good quality silk tie without being flashy. Striped ties are universally accepted as decent additions to a suit. A red striped tie or a solid red tie sits well on a white shirt, for example. Avoid wearing that â€˜soccer fanâ€™ tie or one depicting an abstract design. Also make sure to tie a medium and well balanced knot and let the tie fall to just near your belt. I have seen many askew knots and uneven length of ties to mar many a fine suit.
Shoes, Socks and Belt:
Black leather shoes and a black leather belt are the best. Somehow, pointed shoes give a smarter look but do not cramp your feet if you have a broad toe area. For interviews, choose shoes with shoe laces and, of course, polish them well. The buckle of your belt should be decent so avoid any big buckles. Wear dark color socks that match with your pants. Please do not let the top of your socks curl loosely downwards.
A well groomed look for a man includes clean and combed hair â€“ short hair always give a crisp look. However, if you support long hair, make double sure to put every strand in place. If you support a beard, trim it properly before your interview. Flashy jewellery is a ‘no-no’ but you can proudly wear your wedding ring. If you have showered and shaved well, you donâ€™t really need a spray of perfume; plus the perfume can trigger unknown allergies of an interviewer and is generally frowned upon. Well manicured hands or at least clean fingernails extend a good personality; remember, they are likely to be in full view during the whole time of interview. Get rid of any gum or mouth freshening tablet before entering the interview room.
Do not forget to turn off your cell phone. Your golf buddy wants to call you whenever!
Job Interview Dress For Women
Being a woman myself, I would expect most of my women readers to agree that for us, each and every occasion while going out demands serious contemplation on our dress needs and not only for job interviews. Nevertheless, it is important to figure out what constitutes an appropriate job interview dress for a woman.
While it is relatively easier for men to decide on clothes than women, like I mentioned before, women do have more choices dress wise. A suit for women for a job interview can comprise of a jacket and pants or that of a jacket and a skirt. If wearing pants, make sure they are well fitting â€“ not too loose and certainly not too tight. If you decide to go with a skirt, it must be knee length and should not be too tightly hugging your body. So when you are asked to sit, you wonâ€™t have the awkward moment to spoil your impression and while standing up, youâ€™ll look graceful and professional.
You have more choices than men for colors too as you can easily carry a solid navy blue, dark grey, black or even brown color with ease. Choose your fabric with care too and opt for one with a solid look – like one of those wool blends or one with a good weave pattern.
Match a complementing color shirt with your jacket. The fabric can be any closely knit weave so there is no transparency at all. Showing a low cleavage is a definite ‘no-no’. Remember, there is a fine line between grace and unnecessary glamor. You donâ€™t want any distraction for the interviewers as this would not only be seen as unprofessional on your part but can also draw the attention of the other person/s away from a focused mindset. The result can be your physical attributes getting more noticed than your qualifications for the concerned job.
Jewellery & Makeup:
Jewellery, if worn, should be simple and graceful. Loud, flashy chains and bracelets etc would make you look less professional in some interviewersâ€™ opinion. Do wear a watch and choose a style on the conservative side. A little makeup can accentuate your look but the keyword is just that â€“ a little. Your hands will be in full view, so choose a subdued color of nail polish on your manicured fingers as opposed to a bright one.
Shoes & Purse:
For a job interview, you should wear closed shoes and not sandals. Leather is the preferred material here but you can choose another material if it has an equally decent look. Avoid very high heels or broad thick platforms, both of which are extremes. Choose something comfortable and you wonâ€™t regret it. Wear plain and sheer neutral color pantyhose. A small leather purse matching with your leather shoes is perfect. If unsure, go for a black one.
Wash and fix your hair neatly, giving them a professional look as opposed to a party outlandish look. Keep perfume to a minimum. Use light makeup in a way that makes your skin glow and makes you look radiant so you look job ready. Finger nails should be cleaned and manicured with an even coat of any light color nail polish. Carry a small mirror and comb in your purse and take a quick look in it before you enter the interview room. Get rid of any gum in your mouth and leave the Starbucks cup behind in the reception area.
Do not forget to turn off your cell phone. Your shopaholic friend might want to check your availability even while you are facing that interview panel.
A job interview should be taken in all its seriousness by each applicant. If dressing up well takes you closer to get that position, as it indeed does, why not pay attention to the above mentioned advice? Most of you are already aware of this type of dress code for an interview, so dress up well and get that job. Good luck!