Lasting impressions often start with how people see you. This also includes interviews because you are being scored by everything that pertains to you; from how you dress for the interview to your comportment and then your qualifications and skills.
Whether it’s for a professional or semi-formal job, your outfit matters a lot. It doesn’t matter if you are a woman or a man. It’s all the same.
How you dress for your interview speaks of the type of person you are. It’s like a window display of what is in a dress shop (you). It has to be welcoming and attractive.
Not that you have to break a bank to create an impression. However, what you wear and how you carry yourself would go a long way.
So what’s the best way to dress for an interview? Find out everything you need to make an impeccable impression for an interview with your outfit.
How to dress for an interview
1. Start with something simple
Rather than going big on your choice of outfit, go for simple outfits instead. The best is to go professional.
Conservative outfits are a safe cushion for you. Instead of going all out or underdressing, a conservative professional dress is simple. You can opt for a pants or skirt with a button-down shirt or a corporate blouse.
A statement dress with one poignant detail is great too. In addition, wear stockings or socks if your outfit requires them. The trick is to look professional and simple with your attire.
2. Go for neutral colors
If the idea is to look formal or business casual, opt for neutral colors if you are going in for an interview. The demure colors will not play down your charm, rather they wouldn’t be distracting.
You can be creative with how you pair your colors to create a visual appeal. And if you want to highlight with a bright and bold color, do so in moderation.
For instance, a cool-toned outfit can be paired with a moderately bright pair of shoes or a statement accessory like a broach or necklace.
3. When in doubt, ask
This is a way of keeping things simple with your outfit. If you do not know how to dress for an interview, you can call or email the HR of the company to ask. You would most likely get a response on the preferred dress code.
This also shows you are putting the company’s policy into consideration because you want to match their policy and values with yours.
Similarly, if you know anyone in the organization, ask what their dress code is and what the company expects from their interviewees.
If you do not want to call or email, scope the company by carrying out research. You can check the company’s website for information. Social media platforms like Instagram provide insight into what the overall company’s work-life and dress code is.
Furthermore, you get information on vision, expectations, and the company as a brand. It’s better to be over-prepared than under-prepared. At least you can chuck your over-preparedness to enthusiasm and commitment.
5. Go easy on the makeup
If you want to dress for an interview, the best is to go easy on your makeup and perfumes or scents. Remember, moderation is the theme. It includes your makeup too.
For perfumes, you can trigger someone’s allergy with your strong scent. Therefore go easy on it. Similarly, your bold makeup could be distracting.
The ideal makeup should be neutral to minimal. Everyday makeup that highlights the necessary parts without causing a pause is perfect. You don’t want to be that person that gets used as an example for others to not follow.
6. Look smart in fitted clothes
Dress smartly to feel smart. This is one thing I try to remember when I pick my clothes. I am passing this on to you now. If you want to pick a dress for an interview, remember to pick clothes that fit.
Your choice of outfits should be a perfect fit for you. It shouldn’t be too tight or too loose. If you lost weight and your clothes don’t fit, get them fitted.
Moreover, when you wear fitted clothes, your confidence level and self-consciousness are at the perfect level.
7. Don’t wear wrinkled clothes
This is vital if you want to make an impeccable impression. Your clothes have to be impeccable. Besides wearing neat clothes, they have to be in pristine condition and neatly ironed.
Wrinkles do not give a good impression because it speaks of your character and lifestyle. Wearing wrinkled clothes also doesn’t speak well of you.
To impress your potential employer, get your outfit fixed and ironed. This would count when you meet the hiring team.
8. Choose contemporary footwear
This is one of the finishing touches you have to pay attention to. Your selected shoe should perfectly match your outfit. When planning your interview, pair your outfit with business casual or formal shoes like low-medium heel shoes or leather ballerina flats.
However, if the setting of the interview has been decided and it’s a semi-formal interview, you can change your leather shoes for brogues, a loafer, or sneakers.
9. Cap your outfit with a formal bag
Naturally, you should fall back on your professional bag in black or a neutral color. The bag should also be comfortable and adequate to keep your documents like a resume or any other formal document without wrinkling them.
Pick a bag that would accommodate your documents and essentials. And if you don’t have a bag like that, consider a briefcase instead.
Things to look out for when dressing for an interview
1. Company’s culture
You can research the company’s culture and lifestyle. This goes a long way. As I stated earlier, you can call HR or ask around what the company dress code and work-life are like.
You can also research the organization by checking their social media accounts to get a better feel of how the company is.
2. Position being interviewed for
Some positions are more lenient in dress codes and outfits. For instance, how you dress for an internship interview, managerial position, or experienced position is quite different.
Recruiters or the hiring team won’t expect a full suit from an intern. Whereas a managerial position would require you dressed in a blazer at the least.
On the other hand, startups are much more flexible when it comes to dress codes. You can pull off a semi-formal or business casual outfit for your interview.
3. Type of interview
There are different forms and types of interviews. We have phone interviews, social media interviews, and video interviews. And there is the in-person interview. Interviews can be conducted anywhere and anyhow.
Naturally, you have to dress for a video interview just as you would for a face-to-face or in-person interview. Whereas, a phone call interview doesn’t need any preparations, just the right answers for your recruiter.
4. The general industry
The industry or field you are in also determines how you dress for an interview.
For instance, if you are meeting a recruiter for a fashion magazine or fashion-related company, your outfit has to have an impression of you being knowledgeable. It also makes speaking and communicating easier.
For the medical field, you don’t necessarily have to wear high heels that could be uncomfortable. A presentable ballerina flat is good enough.
You have to dress in season. If it’s winter, a sweater over your shirt is acceptable, or you could have a coat over your outfit. Wearing clothes that fit the season also creates a good impression.
Frequently asked questions
Do I have to wear heeled shoes for my interview?
No, you don’t have to.
A flat ballerina shoe, brogues, or loafer are alternatives if you don’t have to wear heels. And if you need to wear one, wear shoes with low inches, making it easy to walk and move around.
Can I wear a business casual outfit for my interview?
Yes, you can.
Your position or organization’s culture and dress code could be a business casual to a semi-formal setting. You can dress based on the organization’s policy.
Are blazers necessary for an interview?
No, they are not. You don’t have to wear a blazer for your interview.
As long as you have a nice dress shirt or blouse that isn’t improper, you are perfectly fine. Also, outfits with inappropriate inscriptions or words on them are not ideal for an interview.
If you have to wear a blazer, it should be because it’s part of your outfit or the season requires you to protect yourself from the cold.
How should I dress for a video interview?
Dress just as you would for a face-to-face interview.
Some people can get away with dressing the top part of their body the camera can only capture. But to be on the safe side, wear a complete outfit minus shoes.
Making an impression starts with your outfit and comportment. How you dress for an interview should reflect your commitment and diligence. It should also highlight your characteristics and self-awareness.
Remember to wear simple and neutral colors that do not draw negative attention to you. You should also wear comfortable shoes and carry suitable matching bags.
Furthermore, you should reduce your makeup and perfumes. Keeping a demure look means having simple makeup on.
And as I said, dress smart to look smart. Don’t wear a wrinkled or dirty outfit for your interview. It wouldn’t speak well of you. And if you are not sure what to do, ask your recruiter or carry out some research. It’s best to be overdressed than underdressed.
And it’s okay to have jitters, but you can build your confidence by dressing right for your interview.
Thanks for reading.
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