Landed yourself an interview? Happy days!
Your next challenge is to negotiate the many elements that come with an interview.
From doing your homework on your potential employer’s history to thinking about what not to say, there’s a lot to consider with a job interview.
And that’s not even considering the way you dress.
According to Monster, 62% of employers say a candidate’s dress sense impacts their employability. Yikes!
Luckily, I’ve put my shabby chic fashion hat on and assembled a few top tips on what you (both men and women) should wear to ensure that your employer’s first impression of you is a positive and lasting one.
When it comes to job interview outfits, you should always start from the bottom.
It may be an old Forrest Gump cliché, but you can tell a lot about a person by simply looking at their shoes.
If you turn up in unpolished or grubby footwear, employers will notice. Most will take a glance when you’re going to shake their hands.
And while you may think it’s a finer detail in the grand scheme for things, if you’re up against tough competition, it’s these small elements that make a big difference.
For men, a smart and classic choice would be a pair of Oxford shoes.
They may date back centuries ago, but they still command respect and give off the impression that you scrub up well.
For quality and a premium choice, always go for Goodyear welted, as these will last you a lifetime with the right level of care.
For women, a pair of leather backless high heel shoes will go with most outfits and don’t run the same risk of looking ‘too casual’ like a pair of loafers.
Find a middle ground
The saying “dress for the job that you want” is very appropriate.
However, I’d recommend not going too overboard with your interview outfit selection, as it could give off the wrong impression.
For instance, fancy cufflinks for men should be left for stuffy boardroom attire and waistcoats for wedding days.
Similarly, women might not need the whole suit and tie combination for the same reason as a pair of men’s cufflinks.
Colour-wise, navy is best, as greys and blacks look very corporate and won’t make you stand out as much.
On the contrary, flamboyant pinks, yellows and purple colours may make you stand out for the wrong reasons, so it’s worth saving those for a different occasion.
An employer may think that you are too confident, loud or trying too hard to get the job.
For men, a navy suit with a silver or brown strapped wristwatch, pocket square (matching your tie) and a brown pair of Oxford shoes will stand you in good stead.
For women, a dark blue/navy jumpsuit or dress, minimal makeup, a silver watch and dark blue/black leather backless high heels are a great combination.
Just like your shoes, socks are a finer detail but can make a huge difference.
(If you’re not wearing a suit, you can discard this rule and skip to the next tip.)
When you’re in the reception area waiting for the interviewer to come and meet you, your trousers ride up exposing your socks.
This means that your employers will immediately notice your shoes and socks.
A top tip is to colour match your socks with your shirt, suit jacket or tie.
As a result, your employer will recognise that you take pride in your appearance and you’ll most probably do the same in your job as well.
Dress for the season
It may seem obvious, but turning up in a coat in the summer will only cause you discomfort and make you look a bit odd!
If you’re a gentleman going for an agency role or entry to mid-level position, you can combine a blazer with a contrasting pair of chinos and loafers to add a warm vibe.
Alternatively, in the winter an overcoat or peacoat will ooze class and sophistication. (They’ll keep you warm too!)
If you’re a woman, a smart black blazer, shoes and heels with a light colour, ruffle tie blouse will work in any season.
However, you may need an umbrella to keep you dry, as a coat may ruin the image.
On wet days, slip on shoes should be avoided at all costs unless you don’t mind getting your feet wet.
Go easy on the spray
Perfume and aftershave may smell good to you, but your employer might think differently.
Go safe and just spray it a couple of times.
Remember, you’re not on a date, so keep it as neutral and professional as possible.
Final things to remember
Hopefully, this blog has given you a few useful fashion tips on what to wear.
But if you’re still unsure or nervous, it’s always better to overdress than underdress.
Failing to make an effort can really put an employer off.
Stay smart, remember to smile and be confident.
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