What do I wear to a job interview?
Job interviews are where you make your first impressions, and as they say, first impressions are very important. In this article, I will tell you some of the interview dress code do’s and don’ts and what not to wear to an interview.
The job market is extremely competitive – you can see people that are overly qualified for certain jobs, yet they are working in supermarkets and fast food restaurants. Why do you think that is? These days, how you present yourself matters as much as your qualification and experience, if not more.
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From the moment you step through the door, they will start judging you. How you carry yourself, how you dress, and most importantly, how you handle the interview. It all means something, and the most experienced interviewers can tell everything about you, without hearing a single word from your mouth.
First and foremost, and I cannot stress this enough, research the company you are applying for a role with. Go to their website, find out what the objective of the business is, and the role you will play. You need to showcase your skills from the second you step into the room. Be proactive.
Now let’s get to the main topic at hand. What to wear?
Dress according to organisational culture. If you come wearing a posh 3-piece suit and your interviewer is wearing some casual jeans and a t-shirt, you may feel out of place. Similarly, if you come wearing jeans and the interviewer is wearing a proper suit, then you’ll be the one feeling like the person who is not taking their job seriously, and therefore didn’t even take the trouble to dress up properly.
So as mentioned before, research the company before you go to apply for a job there. Find out what type of an organisation they are, but no matter how casual the tone is, there is a limit. Obviously wearing such clothing items as shorts, thongs etc are obviously a no-go. If the business has a casual environment, and you know you can wear jeans to the interview, you can still dress them up with a shirt (ironed) and some clean, shiny shoes.
Clothes should fit you well. Your clothes should not be too loose, nor too tight, merely just a perfect fit.
According to studies, the darker shades of blue and black are best suited for interview wear. Orange is the worst colour to wear, but sometimes bright is good. You’re asking these people to hire and let you handle their work, and they need to know you will do it properly to be qualified for the job.
Don’t wear anything distracting, nothing too “low-cut” for women, or flashy dresses. Stick with a proper blue, black or grey suit – that is often the best choice.
Do not over accessorise. It’s human nature to want to stand out, but in a formal business setting, anything that takes the attention away from your skills is bad. That includes jingly accessories, strong perfumes, etc.
If possible, ask beforehand what you should wear, and if there is a dress code. This will not only save you some embarrassment, but also show the interviewer that you are properly interested working with and fitting in with the organisational culture.
Other than that, simply use your head. Don’t go in anything which is not properly cleaned, ironed, or anything that makes you look untidy/unkept. You want to showcase your skills, so anything that takes attention away from that is to be avoided at all costs.
And a little extra advice……carry yourself with confidence. If even you yourself are not sure about your skills or whether or not you’re qualified for the job, then why should the interviewer? Be sure to answer clearly and most importantly, ask questions! It shows initiative and tells a lot about you, and leaves a good impression as well.