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We already know that first impressions are very important and the way you dress is a huge contributing factor.

You want to make a good or great first impression, however, you don’t want your dress to distract the interviewer from the all important interview itself.

Dress for Success takes some careful selection and planning – so be sure to take the time to decide your outfit.

You will need to make a judgement about the organisation and attempt to fit in with their existing dress code.

  • Is it a blue chip corporate organisation?
  • Is it a vibrant and colourful marketing business?
  • Are they concerned with accuracy and quality?
  • Do they have fun while being innovative and creative?

The dress code will vary depending on the industry.  If in doubt dressing conservatively and on the formal side is your best option.

If after you’ve researched the company and you cannot make the decision about what interview attire is appropriate then call the HR department or the person who arranged the interview.  It demonstrates you are concerned, you care and you’re genuinely interested in preparing.

Dress for Success

What colours are appropriate?

It is best to opt for conservative colours such as navy blue, black and darker grey.

For women, you can add a splash of colour with your accessorising or a scarf.

For men, a carefully selected tie can add a little colour – although not too jazzy!

Accessories

To accessorise or not to accessorise?  That is the question!  Carefully thought out and classic accessories can actually work in the interview and give you a little character.

However, be careful not to overdo the accessorising – otherwise big statement jewellery can distract the interviewer.

Fragrance

Have you ever got into a lift at work with the lingering smell of someone’s perfume or aftershave?

Sometimes it’s a pleasant smell and other times it’s so strong and overwhelming that it can make your eyes water and leave a horrible taste in the back of your throat!!

Be careful with your application of perfume or aftershave – it’s easy to put too much on and it’s a very personal taste that doesn’t suit everyone.

Often you’ll be in a small interview room with no windows and it’s overpowering to be stuck with someone wearing too much perfume!

Shoes – Women

I’m the first to admit I love wearing flat shoes – they are so much easier to walk in and so comfortable!  However, it’s normally best to wear a nice pair of shoes with a little heel.

Don’t wear shoes you cannot walk in – remember you will be walking from the reception to the interview room and you don’t want that first few minutes to be tottering behind the interviewer!

Ideally, don’t wear brand new shoes – you don’t want to be sitting in pain or worried about your heels bleeding!

Shoes – Men

Make sure your shoes are nicely polished.

Don’t wear old scruffy shoes – it just doesn’t give the right impression.

Never wear trainers – even if you normally walk to work in trainers.

General Good Grooming Tips

  • Dress Professionally
  • Wear classic clothing – the type of clothes that don’t date
  • Prepare the clothes the night before – make sure you are comfortable wearing the outfit you have chosen. The last thing you want to do is start trying on several outfits on the morning of the interview. You will have too many other important things to be thinking about
  • Nails manicured (men and women) – not too bright or long.
  • Don’t carry too much into the interview – classic handbag or briefcase should be sufficient. Save any shopping for after the interview!
  • Of course, it’s okay to have a travel bag or overnight bag if you’ve flown in especially for the interview
  • For men aim for clean shaven or a neatly trimmed beard for a tidy appearance
  • Jeans are rarely acceptable in an interview – not even when partnered with a jacket!
  • Ensure your hairstyle is neat and tidy – don’t wear too much hair spray or gel

Dress for Success – Do’s and Don’ts Checklist

  • Don’t wear too much perfume or aftershave
  • Don’t wear really high heels or shoes you cannot walk in
  • Don’t over do the accessories
  • Don’t wear bright colours or patterned clothing
  • Do wear clothes that are classic, crisp and clean!
  • Do wear clothes you feel comfortable wearing
  • Don’t wear clothes that are too revealing or short – it’s just not appropriate for the workplace.
  • Don’t wear joke ties or socks – you want to be remembered for your skills, knowledge and fit to the organisation.
  • Don’t smoke just before the interview – particularly if the interviewer is a non-smoker this is a very unpleasant smell and will linger for the whole interview!
  • Do shower the day of the interview – go into the interview as fresh and clean as possible.
  • Do make sure you clean your teeth before the interview – if you are invited to a late interview after work it’s really important you freshen your breath and make sure you haven’t still got your lunch in-between your teeth!
  • For women don’t wear too much makeup – subtle natural colours are suitable.

About Dawn Moss

Dawn has worked in a corporate environment for over ten years providing Recruitment & Selection Services, and has been involved in Coaching & Educating Business Leaders, Managers and Employees in all aspects of the recruitment process.

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