THINK of an interview as a first date. You are about to leave your first impression on an individual or a panel of people who reserve the right to offer you work and pay for the privilege. Should you make the wrong impression by under or over dressing for the occasion, you may not be asked back for the second date.
There are a number of questions you must ask of yourself before you consider attending the interview, but remember to allow sufficient time to select the right clothes and shoes to wear, organising the cleaning and ironing and placing a reserve set in position, in case of a catastrophe.
You will be choosing clothes that signal to your potential employer that you are extremely serious about your application and the interview. The way and manner in which you present yourself provides the interviewer with a judgement about the way that you will show yourself while working for the company.
What to wear is a very difficult question. Dressing appropriately for your relevant audience is important and there are occasions where your best suit is inappropriate and irrelevant – but these occasions are rare. Leave your jeans, favourite sports shoes and extremely short skirts in your wardrobe. Unless you are required to make a fashion statement at the interview, your choice of clothing may fail to influence the interviewing personnel.
You may prefer to go to the beach, but do not dress as though the interview is an inconvenience to your daily routine. Sleeveless shirts, miniskirts and open toed shoes will be inappropriate in most circumstances.
A gown suitable for the red carpet or a three-piece tuxedo will present yourself in overkill mode and your interviewer may only remember your clothing and not important issues about your character and your history.
By wearing subtle colours, like white and navy, you will not stand out like a policeman directing traffic at a busy intersection, and you allow your interviewer to focus on your skills, and accepting your presentation as smart and professional.
Away from your clothing and shoes, it is healthier to consider properly groomed hair and nails, avoiding any outlandish presentations on the day of your interview.
Your overall presentation will be completely ruined if your personal odour is more reminiscent of a hard workout in the gym, but the overuse of deodorant sprays and perfumes may set off an interviewer’s allergy and should definitely be avoided – so that the words you speak can shine through.
By dressing at a level higher than the employment you are being interviewed for, you will show yourself in an appropriate mode. You will be showing your potential employer that you care about the job and have made a significant effort to present yourself in a suitable fashion.
Should you be worried about what you’re going to wear and how to present yourself on the day, it is better to exercise a degree of caution so that you don’t fail the interview within the first five seconds.
Where you are completely unsure what you should wear, seek advice from people who have proven successful previously, and where possible, speak to individuals that work within the business so you can make a qualified judgement about your presentation.
Your interviewer wants to find out about you, while not being distracted by your choice of fashion. So long as you are clean, smart and presentable, you will at least make it through the first part of the interview.