The way you are presented when you go to an interview is very critical to success. This extends further than what you are wearing. Yes, that will play a part, but how to dress for an interview is mainly common sense.
- A suit – Black, Grey or Navy colour.
- Shirt and tie – Standard block colours, white shirt, red tie. Grey shirt blue tie. Tucked in!
- Plain dark socks.
- Polished shoes.
- Pant suit or skirt suit.
- Neutral, plain white or coloured shirt.
- Moderately heeled or flat shoes.
This may sound a tad dull, and other smart variations are acceptable. And you may have heard stories about people going into interviews dressed in all sorts of extravagant attire and getting jobs! However, it’s always better to stick with the safety of going into an interview dressed like the suggestions above. You are trying to make sure what you are wearing doesn’t draw their attention in any way. You want all the attention focused on what you are saying!
Other points to consider are:
- Hair – Recently cut, smartly styled. Not dyed blue, purple or orange!
- Nails – Might sound silly, but you will shake someone’s hand and there is a good chance they’ll see them! Attention to detail! Trimmed and clean nails.
- Smell – Again, common sense. Shower. But if it is a hot day and you are sweating, you might want to make sure to take some deodorant or perfume/aftershave with you. Don’t overpower them though!
- Jewellery – I would recommend being as sparing as you can. For the guys, I’d remove earrings and all other visible piercings if you have them. For the ladies, I would recommend earrings only (Maybe not giant hoops though…). Wedding/engagement rings are ok.
- Tattoos – If they are coverable with long sleeve shirts or trousers, I would do so. It shouldn’t make any difference whatsoever. But unfortunately, some people may have unfair opinions on tattooed people that are hard to break through. Some just don’t like them! Cover if you can.
- Watch – If you have a nice stylish watch, wear it. There is something subtle and impressive about a watch. Show attention to detail in your outfit and it infers you will show it in your work.
- Make-up – Common sense here again. Don’t be too heavy with any of the products you use. Being more conservative will win the day!
When you walk into an interview ready in this way, you’ll already be on the front foot. As you may know, body language counts for a lot of the message that is received by people you meet. So make sure you have good posture, a dry, non-crushing handshake and make eye contact with all the interviewers. Try not to cross arms or legs. Keep open stances when sitting and standing. Show you are listening by eye contact, nodding, and verbal acknowledgements.
Put this all together and you will impress people. As long as the content of what you say is good….more on that later!